Papua New Guinea’s latest corruption score is a damning indictment of the government’s failure to properly fund anti-corruption agencies and it confirms PNG as one of the most corrupt country in the world.
The recently published Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (CPI) shows PNG’s ranking has dropped six places from 124 th to 130 th out of 180 countries . PNG’s CPI index score which is based on public sector corruption has dropped from 31 in 2021 to 30 in 2022.
“Corruption is costing Papua New Guinea billions of Kina every year”, says Campaign Manager Eddie Tanago. “It is ruining our economy and impoverishing the nation.”
ACT NOW! says if the government is serious about making PNG ‘the richest black nation on earth’ then it must start to properly fund institutions like the Auditor General’s Office, the newly formed Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC), the Police Fraud Squad and the Department of Implementation and Rural Development. It also needs to introduce new measures to make the government more open and transparent.
“We welcome the government’s commitment to establish an Independent Commission Against Corruption”, says Tanago. “but a K10 million budget is pathetic when corruption is so entrenched and it looks inadequate when compared to the K20 million given to every District Development Authority.
International accountancy firm Price Waterhouse Cooper (PwC) has used global economic data to estimate the cost of a one-point change in CPI scores.
“The PwC analysis shows that the one point drop in PNG’s corruption score from 2021 to 2022 could be costing the economy as much as K10 billion” says Eddie Tanago.
“That is equivalent to a 10% decrease in our Gross Domestic Product or K1,000 being taken from every man woman and child in the country”.
Conversely, says ACT NOW, if PNG can improve its corruption score then, that will have the effect of boosting the economy.
Improving PNG’s CPI score by just 3 points to match the next worse country in our region which is the Philippines, could boost the size of the economy by 30% or K30 billion.
Tanago suggests that the “government boosts its spending on anti-corruption agencies, adding it will have a direct impact in boosting PNG’s national economy and putting money in the hands of ordinary Papua New Guineans”.
“Rather than giving K20 million to each DDA, the government could give K19 million instead and use the K96 million saving to boost the AGO, ICAC, DIRD and the fraud office. These institutions should have been strengthened first before the SIP funding was increased”
ACT NOW! says corruption puts all sorts of extra costs on to businesses and makes the economy very inefficient. Corruption suppresses competition, increases prices, makes workers unproductive and leads to very poor infrastructure and services.
The easiest way for the government to grow the economy and improve people’s livelihoods is therefore to tackle corruption head-on by properly funding the anti-corruption agencies and ensuring its decision-making is open and accountable.