Presented at the dac heads of Information Conference 2006 on

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  • Measuring Corruption in Bangladesh:
  • Can Communication Work?
  • Iftekhar Zaman
  • Executive Director
  • Transparency International Bangladesh
  • ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------
  • Presented at the DAC Heads of Information Conference 2006 on
  • The Aid Agenda: Corruption, Governance & Aid Effectiveness –
  • Communicating the Big Issues”.
  • Canberra, 17-19 May 2006.

Bangladesh: Remarkable Social Progress

  • Bangladesh: Remarkable Social Progress
  • Steady economic growth (5-6 %) since 1990s
  • Decline in population growth (2.5 in 80s to 1.7 in 1990-2004)
  • Primary education enrollment from 72% in 1980 to 98% in 2001
  • Infant mortality from 145 in 1970 to 46 in 2003 per 1000 live births
  • Child mortality from 239 to 69 per 1000 during the same
  • Share of population in poverty from 59 in 1990 to 50% in 2000
  • Food security markedly increased – near self-sufficiency
  • All these gains achieved despite widely acknowledged governance failures

Corruption – the key problem

  • Corruption – the key problem
  • Corruption – a global challenge
  • More than bribery - Abuse of power for private gain - power in the government & outside; economic, political and social power.
  • Increases poverty and injustice
  • Prevents development and rule of law
  • Undermines democracy and governance
  • Distorts market and stifles economic growth
  • Breeds crimes, social frustration, discontent and insecurity

CORRUPTION: Bias against the poor

  • CORRUPTION: Bias against the poor
  • Corruption - a key challenge against development in Bangladesh, and a major political issue
  • More than Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) - acknowledged across political spectrum
  • Opportunity Cost – about 3 percent higher growth was possible
    • Diverts investment and discourages development partnership - exclusion of Bangladesh from US MCA attributed to corruption.
    • 75% of more than $35 billion received since independence have been estimated to have been lost for corruption
  • The poor are directly affected - access to essential services such as education, health, justice and individual safety has become a function of the capacity to make unauthorized payments.
  • Main impediment to meeting the PRS and MDG.

Corruption: Preventing access to education

Corruption: Preventing access to health service

Corruption: Preventing law enforcement

Household Income lost to bribery


  • The key challenge – linkage with power.
  • Complete eradication of corruption is not a realistic proposition.
  • Strengthening of key institutions – the national integrity system is the prerequisite backed by highest level political will and preparedness to act without fear or favour.

The National Integrity System

  • The National Integrity System
  • a) Parliament – Standing Committees
  • b) Central Role of the Executive
  • c) Neutral and non-political public service commission – Public Service Code of Ethics - Accountability, Rigorously practiced Conflict of Interest policy
  • d) Transparent & Competitive Public Procurement
  • e) High Standards in Financial Management
  • f) Competitive and Socially Responsible Private Corporate Sector
  • Independent Judiciary
  • Professional Law Enforcement Institutions - Police
  • h) The Auditor General

i) Independent Anti-Corruption Institution, laws – effectiveness & enforcement

  • i) Independent Anti-Corruption Institution, laws – effectiveness & enforcement
  • j) Empowered local government
  • k) Independent Election Commission capable of delivering free and fair election
  • An Independent and Free Media - Access to Information
  • The Ombudsman
  • n) The Civil Society – citizen’s voice and citizen’s movement
  • o) International Actors and Mechanisms – UN Convention

TI-Bangladesh: Creating Demand by Measuring Corruption – Does it Work?

  • TI-Bangladesh: Creating Demand by Measuring Corruption – Does it Work?
      • Household surveys
      • Diagnostic Studies
      • National Integrity System Monitoring
        • ParliamentWatch, CourtWatch
      • Report Cards – citizen’s response
      • Corruption Database
  • Measuring Corruption - Does it Work?
    • Research-Plus
    • Work with the Government for policy reform and institutional change
    • Dissemination for awareness and opinion building through media campaign – TVC, adverts, bill- boards, posters, stickers, etc.

Engage Citizens

  • Committees of Concerned Citizens (CCCs)
  • Lead public awareness & participation campaign
    • Seminars, workshops, rallies, roundtables, specific events/days
  • Inform and advise the public
  • Engage public officials & representatives in motivational and specific action-oriented activities
  • Creating “Islands of Integrity” - Report Cards as tools
  • Build Constituencies
  • Working with media, CSO/NGOs, development partners
  • Memberships, Friends, Fellowships, Internships
  • Engaging the youth - volunteers groups, theatre & other cultural groups; students for civic education.

In Lieu of a Conclusion

  • In Lieu of a Conclusion
  • To fight corruption requires highest level political commitment for courageous action without fear or favour.
  • Where the political commitment is weak, and institutions are not functioning independently and effectively – create demand: inform, communicate and campaign for a social movement.

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