In the Kaieteur News report on the Transparency International’s (TI) 2008 Corruption Perception Index, it was cited that President Bharrat Jagdeo had previously rejected the study for being based on perception rather than hard facts.
I think the President’s skepticism was perfectly in order. Please permit me to share the findings of some research on the reality of corruption in Guyana.
The International Financial Corporation Enterprise Survey of Guyana done in 2004 (surveys are done for each country approximately every 3-5 years) reported that 20% of Guyanese firms indicated that they expect to make informal payments or gave gifts to public officials to get things done.
This is lower than both the percentage for the Latin American and Caribbean (LAC) Region (23.44%) and All Countries (35.53%).
When questioned on whether gifts or informal payments were expected or requested during meetings with tax officials, 5.41% of Guyanese firms surveyed responded positively as compared to 7.15% in the LAC and 25.27% in all countries.
Furthermore, firms were surveyed on their expectation of giving gifts or making informal payments to public officials to secure Government contracts. 8.28% of the Guyanese firms surveyed reported that they consider that firms with characteristics similar to theirs are making informal payments or giving gifts to public officials to secure government contract.
The LAC average is significantly higher at 18.83% while the survey found the average for all countries to be 26.91%.
When questioned on whether or not corruption is a major constraint to their operations, 17.79 % of the Guyanese firms responded in the affirmative. This is in stark comparison to the 53.49% reported by LAC firms and 32.12% reported by all countries.
The above results taken from a World Bank survey suggest that corruption is modest in Guyana compared to the rest of the world. Yet the Transparency International in its perception index reports a totally different picture.
I wish to urge Guyanese to be wary of these biased reports that are based on everything but facts. They can have damaging consequences for Guyana’s investment and competitiveness potential.
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