Third most corrupt country in South Asia and 131th in score out of 176 surveyed
KATHMANDU, Jan 26: Nepal failed to move away in 2016 also from its image as one of the most corrupt countries in the world and made only slight progress in the Corruption Perception Index, Transparency International (TI) said in its annual report published on Wednesday.
The Corruption Perception Index (CPI) ranked Nepal in the 131th position, with a score of 29, out of the 176 countries surveyed. Last year, Nepal was ranked in the 130th position with a score of 27out of 100.
TI, the anti-corruption watchdog, scores starting from zero, and a country securing a score of 100 is considered very clean while the country with the lowest score is taken as the most corrupt. Nepal has secured a higher number compared to the previous year. But experts on corruption issues say this does not amount to progress in controlling corruption.
"Talking about score, we secured two additional points compared to the previous year but we failed in yet another test. There is no reason to cheer," said Shree Hari Aryal, president of Transparency International-Nepal.
Theoretically, countries securing a score of less than 50 are considered corrupt. "There is no significant change in our ranking," said Narayan Manandhar, an expert on corruption matters, "This is neither improvement nor deterioration."
The rivalry between parliament and the Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority, poor service delivery and inequalities are reflected in the survey in Nepal, according to the experts. In 2016, Nepal removed the chief of the anti-graft body on a charge of abusing his authority and the row dogged the entire year.
They have warned of serious consequences in the days ahead if the government fails to strength its anti-corruption drive. "Nepal will suffer further if it fails to improve its anti-corruption effort as its two immediate neighbors, India and China, are competing to improve their images," said Manandhar.
Both India and China scored 40 in this year's CPI and they have began massive anti-corruption drives across the country.
Among South Asian countries Nepal ranks as the third most corrupt after Afghanistan (scoring 15) and Bangladesh (26). Pakistan has improved its score over the previous year. It had a score of just 11 in 2015. Bhutan has been ranked the least corrupt in the region, with a score of 65.
People are worried that Nepal will never break out of the chain of corruption. "As a corruption watchdog, we have been consistently raising the issue of corruption but the government is not taking it seriously. And the corrupt are getting stronger by the day," said TI-Nepal head Aryal, pointing a finger at the snail-pace working style of anti-corruption agencies.