WIPING-OUT CORRUPTION

Published:  12:09 AM, 30 July 2020

A strong-boned war is a dire emergency needed one

A strong-boned war is a dire emergency needed one
 
Forms of corruption vary, but include bribery, extortion, cronyism, nepotism, parochialism, patronage, influence peddling, graft, and embezzlement. Corruption may facilitate criminal enterprise, such as, drug trafficking, money laundering, and human trafficking, though is not restricted to these activities only. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as, unlawful repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is also considered political corruption.

Political corruption is the use of powers by government officials or their network contacts for illegitimate private gain. An illegal act by an officeholder constitutes political corruption only if the act is directly related to their official duties, is done under color of law or involves trading in influence.

The activities that constitute illegal corruption differ depending on the country or jurisdiction. For instance, some political funding practices that are legal in one place may be illegal in another. In some cases, government officials have broad or ill-defined powers, which make it difficult to distinguish between legal and illegal actions. Worldwide, bribery alone is estimated to involve over 1 trillion US dollars annually. A state of unrestrained political corruption is known as a kleptocracy, literally meaning rule by thieves.

"Let corruption not be an obstacle to our path of development, let not corruption ruin all of our achievements. So, it's our responsibility to contain corruption," Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said repeatedly. She further said that it is her government's responsibility to contain corruption for safeguarding all development programmes. But that must not be word for word only. People want to see that these commitments are reflected through the government actions.

Corruption in Bangladesh includes the private use of public resources, bribery, and improper favoritism. The dimension of colossal corruption in different forms to annihilate the Coronavirus malady camouflaging their despicable characters has now raised its wretched head. Everyone in the country is disgusted to have seen the very high magnitude of corruption now going on in the country. Internationally, Bangladesh also has plunged into a great image crisis!

PM Sheik Hasina should take a vow to root out existing corruption and further the development of anti-corruption initiatives. The country has a robust anti-corruption framework, but laws are inadequately enforced and accountability in all public sectors remains low.

In the private sector, corruption increases the cost of business through the price of illicit payments themselves, the management cost of negotiating with officials and the risk of breached agreements or detection. Although some claim corruption reduces costs by cutting bureaucracy, the availability of bribes can also induce officials to contrive new rules and delays. Openly removing costly and lengthy regulations are better than covertly allowing them to be bypassed by using bribes. Where corruption inflates the cost of business, it also distorts the field of inquiry and action, shielding firms with connections from competition and thereby sustaining inefficient firms.

Corruption may have a direct impact on the firm's effective marginal tax rate. Bribing tax officials can reduce tax payments of the firm if the marginal bribe rate is below the official marginal tax rate. However, in Bangladesh, bribes have a higher negative impact on firms' activity than taxation. Indeed, a-one percentage point increase in bribes reduces firm's annual growth by three percentage points, while an increase in one percentage point on taxes reduces firm's growth by one percentage point.

Some forms of corruption - now called institutional corruption - are distinguished from bribery and other kinds of obvious personal gain. A similar problem of corruption arises in any institution that depends on financial support from people who have interests that may conflict with the primary purpose of the institution.

Over time, corruption has been defined differently. For example, in a simple context, while performing work for a government or as a representative, it is unethical to accept a gift. Any free gift could be construed as a scheme to lure the recipient towards some biases. In most cases, the gift is seen as an intention to seek certain favors, such as, work promotion, tipping in order to win a contract, job or exemption from certain tasks in the case of junior employee giving the gift to a senior employee who can be key in winning the favor.

In politics, corruption undermines democracy and good governance by flouting or even subverting formal processes. Corruption in elections and in the legislature reduces accountability and distorts representation in policymaking; corruption in the judiciary compromises the rule of law; and corruption in public administration results in the inefficient provision of services. It violates a basic principle of running the state affairs.

More generally, corruption erodes the institutional capacity of government, if procedures are disregarded, resources are siphoned off, and public offices are bought and sold. Corruption undermines the legitimacy of government and such democratic values as trust and tolerance. Recent evidence suggests that variation in the levels of corruption amongst high-income democracies can vary significantly depending on the level of accountability of decision-makers. Evidence from fragile states also shows that corruption and bribery can adversely impact trust in institutions.

Corruption can also impact government's provision of goods and services. It increases the costs of goods and services which arise efficiency loss. In the absence of corruption, governmental projects might be cost-effective at their true costs, however, once corruption costs are included projects may not be cost-effective so they are not executed distorting the provision of goods and services.

Corruption also generates economic distortion in the public sector by diverting public investment into capital projects where bribes and kickbacks are more plentiful. Officials may increase the technical complexity of public sector projects to conceal or pave the way for such dealings, thus further distorting investment. Corruption also lowers compliance with construction, environmental, or other regulations, reduces the quality of government services and infrastructure, and increases budgetary pressures on government.

Economists argue that one of the factors behind the differing economic developments in Bangladesh, corruption has primarily taken the form of rent extraction with the resulting financial capital moved overseas rather than invested at home.  Corruption is often most evident in countries with the smallest per capita incomes, relying on foreign aid for health services. Local political interception of donated money from overseas is especially prevalent in many under-developed countries.

Corruption facilitates environmental destruction. While corrupt societies may have formal legislation to protect the environment, it cannot be enforced if officials can easily be bribed. The same applies to social rights worker protection, unionization prevention, and child labor. Violation of these laws rights enables corrupt countries to gain illegitimate economic advantage in the international market.

The scale of humanitarian aid to the poor and unstable regions of the world grows, but it is highly vulnerable to corruption, with food aid, construction and other highly valued assistance as the most at risk. Food aid can be directly and physically diverted from its intended destination, or indirectly through the manipulation of assessments, targeting, registration and distributions to favor certain groups or individuals.

In construction and shelter there are numerous opportunities for diversion and profit through substandard workmanship, kickbacks for contracts and favoritism in the provision of valuable shelter material. Thus, while humanitarian aid agencies are usually most concerned about aid being diverted by including too many; recipients themselves are most concerned about exclusion.

Malnutrition, illness, wounds, torture, harassment of specific groups within the population, disappearances, extra-judicial executions and the forcible displacement of people are all found in many armed conflicts. Aside from their direct effects on the individuals concerned, the consequences of these tragedies for local systems must also be considered: the destruction of crops and places of cultural importance, the breakdown of economic infrastructure and of health-care facilities, such as, hospitals…

Corruption plays a huge role in health care system starting from the hospital, to the government and lifted to the other institutions that promote quality and affordable health care to the people. The efficiency of health care delivery in any country is heavily dependent on accountable and transparent systems, proper management of both financial and human resources and timely supply of services to the vulnerable populace of the nation.

At the basic level, greed skyrockets corruption. When the structure of the health care system is not adequately addressed beginning from oversight in healthcare delivery and supply of drugs and tendering process, mismanagement and misappropriation of funds will always be observed. Corruption also can undermine health care service delivery which in turn disorients the lives of the poor.

Corruption leads to violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms as people supposed to benefit from the basic health care from the governments are denied due to unscrupulous processes driven by greed. Therefore, for a country to keep citizens healthy there must be efficient systems and proper resources that can tame the evils like corruption that underpin it.

Education forms the basis and the fabric in which a society is transformed and different facets of well-being are shaped. Corruption in higher education has been prevalent and calls for immediate intervention. Increased corruption in higher education has led to growing global concern among governments, students and educators and other stakeholders. Those offering services in the higher education institutions are facing pressure that highly threatens the integral value of higher education enterprise.

Corruption in higher education has a larger negative influence; it destroys the relation between personal effort and reward anticipation. Moreover, employees and students develop a belief that personal success does not come from hard work and merit but through canvassing with teachers and taking other shortcuts.

Academic promotions in the higher education institutions have been disabled by unlimited corruption. Presently, promotion is based on personal connections than professional achievements. This has led to dramatic increase in the number of professors and exhibits their rapid status loss. Utmost the flawed processes in the academic institutions has led to unbaked graduates who are not well fit to the job market.

Our country's poorest citizens bear the brunt when it comes to service delivery, which grinds to a halt at the threshold of their desperate dwellings. The grand larceny also distracts us from the much larger debate about the structure of the economy. It leads to silence about the unconscionable levels of inequality here, plus the fact that while the poor are trapped in poverty, the well-resourced - the majority of whom, become vocal in decrying corruption, proof positive, so goes the logic, that some are incapable of running a modern economy free of corruption.

For wiping out corruption from the country, a strong-boned war is a dire emergency needed one by the government under the able and dynamic stewardship of Bangabandhu Mujib's gracious daughter PM Sheikh Hasina.


The writer is an independent political observer who writes on politics, political and
human-centered figures, current and international affairs.


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