Friday, December 23, 2011

Daily Lives and Corruption, Public Opinion in S. Asia

More than one in three people who deal with public services in South Asia pay bribes, according to a new survey published on 22nd December 2011.
In the report, titled “Daily Lives and Corruption, Public Opinion in South Asia,” anticorruption group Transparency International surveyed 7,500 people between 2010 and 2011 in Bangladesh, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka on the frequency of bribes in those countries.
The survey asks respondents whether they think corruption has increased and which institutions are considered most corrupt. It also asks if people have paid a bribe in the past 12 months, to whom and for what.
“With bribery such a big a part of life for South Asians, you can see why so many people are angry at their governments for not tackling corruption. People are sick of paying bribes just to get on with their daily lives, and they are sick of the sleaze and undue influence of public servants,” Rukshana Nanayakkara, TI’s senior program coordinator for South Asia, said in a news release.
Political parties and the police are the most corrupt institutions in each of the six countries, followed closely by legislatures and public officials, according to the survey. Officials overseeing land deals were the next likely to demand a bribe, the survey found.
Bangladesh has the most rampant corruption, with 66% of people saying they pay bribes to public institutions. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Indians, Bangladeshis and Pakistanis who dealt with the police ended up paying a bribe.
The study also found that most people think corruption is on the rise in the region, with 62% of those interviewed saying they believe corruption has become worse in the past three years. But 83% of people said they were ready get involved in fighting corruption.
39% of people report paying a bribe in the past 12 months. The result was startlingly high in Bangladesh at 66 per cent, followed by India and Pakistan, with 54 per cent and 49 per cent respectively reporting having paid a bribe to one of nine service providers in the past 12 months. 
62% of people feel that corruption in their country has increased in the past three years. This was felt most strongly in India and Pakistan, where three out of four people felt that corruption had increased over the past three years. Government leaders were named as the most trusted to fight corruption by 38% of people.
Government leaders were named as the most trusted to fight corruption in Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka. The media was the most trusted institution in India and Nepal. In Pakistan the highest proportion of people reported that they trust ‘nobody’ to fight corruption.
81% of people agree that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption. People are especially positive in the Maldives and Pakistan, where 90 per cent and 89 per cent respectively agree that ordinary people can make a difference. 

Friday, December 2, 2011

Outlook for Remittance Flows 2012-14

Nepal has ranked 6th among all countries across the globe that receive more remittances as a share of gross domestic product in 2011, says a report released on 1st December 2011 of the World Bank on Migration and Development.
The Outlook for Remittance Flows 2012-14 estimates that Nepal will receive around US$ 400 million worth of remittances from its overseas workers in 2011, making remittances stand at 20 percent of country´s total GDP. 
“Tajikistan, Lesotho, Samoa, Moldova and Kyrgyz Republic are the top five countries receiving more remittances as a share of GDP, and Nepal stands at the 6th place,” says the report. Remittances received by these top five countries were equal to 31 percent, 29 percent, 25 percent, 23 percent and 21 percent of their respective GDPs.
The new estimates show that the top recipients of remittances among developing countries in 2011 are India (US$58 billion), followed by China (US$57 billion), Mexico (US$ 24 billion) and the Philippines (US$ 23 billion). Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Vietnam, Egypt and Lebanon are other large recipients in terms of US dollar.
The report estimates that remittance flows to developing countries in 2011 could have touched US$ 351 billion. This is 8 percent growth over what those countries received in 2010 and well above the growth forecast of 7.3 percent that the WB had made earlier.
When flows to high-income countries are included, the global remittance flows could touch US$406 billion this year.
“And this is the first time since the global financial crisis that remittance flows to all developing regions have increased in 2011”, reads the report. 
The report attributes the rise in remittance flows to countries like Nepal to high oil prices, something which enabled Gulf countries to hire more workers and pay them better than the past few years. The depreciation of local currency, which enabled families back home enjoy net exchange rate gains, also contributed in the flow of remittances in countries like Nepal.
Such finding of the WB matches with the figures that the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) released recently. The latest macro-economic report that NRB made public on Wednesday says Nepal received some Rs 75 billion worth of remittances over the first quarter of this fiscal year, which is about 28 percent rise over remittances received in the same period last year.
The report further adds that even though remittances to developing countries grew in 2011, they are vulnerable to the uncertain economic prospects in the migrant destination countries. Following this rebound, the WB predicts that the remittance flows to developing countries could continue in a range of 7-8 percent per annum and reach US$441 billion by 2014.
The remittances are expected to increase 8.0 percent to $351 billion in 2011, 7.3 percent to $377 billion in 2012, 7.9 percent to $406 billion in 2013, and 8.4 percent to $441 billion in 2014.
Global remittance flows, including those to high-income countries, are expected to exceed $515 billion by 2014.
Remittances to the developing economies in East Asia and the Pacific are projected to rise 7.6 percent to $101 billion in 2011 and 7.3 percent to $109 billion in 2012. They are forecast to increase by another 8.0 percent to $117 billion in 2013 and 8.7 percent to $127 billion by 2014.
The World Bank report says that high oil prices, which have hovered over $100 a barrel in recent months, continue to provide a much-needed cushion for migrant employment in, and remittance flows from, the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and Russia. Oil driven economic activities and increased spending on infrastructure development are making these countries attractive for migrants from developing countries.
The report acknowledges that the remittance costs have fallen steadily from 8.8 percent in 2008 to 7.3 percent in the third quarter of 2011. However, it pinpoints that the cost is still too high, especially in Africa and other small nations where remittances provide a lifeline to the poor.
Following such finding, the WB has pressed the countries across the globe to improve the data on remittances at the national and bilateral levels.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Corruption Perception Index - 2011

Nepal is the second most corrupt country in the South Asia, according to an annual report  by the global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International (TI).
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) 2011, published by TI on 1st December 2011, Nepal is ranked at the154th position on the list of the least corrupt countries. Last year, Nepal was placed in the 146th position.  
Among the South Asian countries, Bhutan is the least corrupt country placed in the 38th position and Afghanistan being the most corrupt country ranked in the 182th position.
Similarly, Sri Lanka is placed in the 86th, India in the 95th, Bangladesh in the 120th and Pakistan and the Maldives jointly in the 134th positions.
The TI report says that corruption continues to plague too many countries around the world. According to the Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index, some governments failing to protect citizens from corruption be it abuse of public resources, bribery or secretive decision-making.
Transparency International warned that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.
The 2011 index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest. Two-thirds of ranked countries score less than five. New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia, North Korea (included in the index for the first time) and Myanmar are last.
1. New Zealand 9.5
• 2. Denmark 9.4
• 2. Finland 9.4
4. Sweden 9.3
5. Singapore 9.2
6. Norway 9.0
7. Netherlands 8.9
• 8. Australia 8.8
• 8. Switzerland 8.8
10. Canada 8.7
11. Luxembourg 8.5
12. Hong Kong 8.4
13. Iceland 8.3
• 14. Germany 8.0
• 14. Japan 8.0
• 168. Angola 2.0
• 168. Chad 2.0
• 168. Democratic Republic of Congo 2.0
• 168. Libya 2.0
• 172. Burundi 1.9
• 172. Equatorial Guinea 1.9
• 172. Venezuela 1.9
• 175. Haiti 1.8
• 175. Iraq 1.8
• 177. Sudan 1.6
• 177. Turkmenistan 1.6
• 177. Uzbekistan 1.6
• 180. Afghanistan 1.5
• 180. Myanmar 1.5
• 182. North Korea 1.0
• 182. Somalia 1.0