Bhutan scored 68, Ranking as the 26th Least Corrupt Nation Out of 180 Countries

โ€ฆ๐‘ฎ๐’๐’๐’ƒ๐’‚๐’ ๐’„๐’๐’“๐’“๐’–๐’‘๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’ ๐’•๐’“๐’†๐’๐’…๐’” ๐’–๐’๐’—๐’†๐’Š๐’๐’†๐’…: ๐‘ถ๐’๐’๐’š 28 ๐’๐’‚๐’•๐’Š๐’๐’๐’” ๐’”๐’‰๐’๐’˜ ๐’Š๐’Ž๐’‘๐’“๐’๐’—๐’†๐’Ž๐’†๐’๐’•, ๐’˜๐’‰๐’Š๐’๐’† ๐‘ฉ๐’‰๐’–๐’•๐’‚๐’ ๐’ˆ๐’“๐’‚๐’‘๐’‘๐’๐’†๐’” ๐’˜๐’Š๐’•๐’‰ ๐’“๐’†๐’‡๐’๐’“๐’Ž๐’” ๐’‚๐’Ž๐’Š๐’… ๐’“๐’†๐’ˆ๐’Š๐’๐’๐’‚๐’ ๐’”๐’‰๐’Š๐’‡๐’•๐’”

Sonam Choki

Transparency International (TI) released the 2023 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) on January 30, 2024. The index ranks 180 countries and territories based on their perceived public sector corruption levels, measured on a scale from 0 (highly corrupt) to 100 (very clean). The evaluation incorporated responses from the last ten years, using data from 13 unique independent sources, including expert assessments and businessperson surveys.

The findings reveal that over two-thirds of the nations scored below 50, indicating prevalent corruption. According to the CPI 2023, among the countries evaluated, only 28 demonstrated an improvement in their corruption levels over the previous twelve years, while 34 saw a significant increase in corruption.

Denmark continues to lead with a score of 90 for the sixth consecutive year, followed by Finland and New Zealand with scores of 87 and 85, respectively. However, New Zealand’s score has dropped from 87 since the 2022 CPI. Conversely, Somalia (11), Venezuela (13), Syria (13), and South Sudan (13) are ranked lowest. Over the past decade, only 28 countries showed significant progress, while another 34, including previously high-ranking Sweden, have seen notable declines in their standings.

Bhutan attained a score of 68, securing the 26th position as the least corrupt among 180 countries and territories. This score has remained steady over the past six years. Despite this consistency, Bhutan’s ranking dropped from the 25th position held in the previous two years. Yet, for over a decade, Bhutan has reliably maintained its rank as the sixth least corrupt country in the Asia and Pacific Region.

Bhutan’s ranking drop may be linked to Barbados’ significant score increase, from 65 in 2022 to 69 in 2023, thanks to its robust institutions, enhanced transparency in public procurement, and improved anti-corruption measures. Of the countries ranking higher than Bhutan, 12, including Bhutan itself, retained their scores, while nine saw their scores decrease by one or two points.

As in previous years, Bhutan’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) was compiled using four data sources. Among these, Bhutan’s performance in terms of policy quality and institutional frameworks aimed at sustainable socio-economic and political development was notably lower compared to other areas evaluated.

The Country Policy and Institutional Assessment (CPIA) highlights Bhutan’s strong commitment to comprehensive development, evidenced by its consistent emphasis on human resource development, equitable public resource allocation to aid the impoverished, and prudent macroeconomic policies aimed at sustainable growth, particularly in health, education, and economic stability. Despite these notable strengths, the CPIA also points out critical areas needing improvement. There’s a call for better social protection policies to address labor market and poverty concerns, significant reforms in the financial sector to tackle vulnerabilities and corruption, and enhancements in the business regulatory environment to foster job creation, investment, and productivity. Additionally, the efficiency of revenue mobilization requires enhancements to address weaknesses in tax structure and collection methods.

Based on the Global Insight Country Risk Ratings, Bhutan boasts impressive scores for ‘Political Stability and Absence of Violence,’ indicating a peaceful environment conducive to investment. It also scores well in ‘Rule of Law’ and ‘Control of Corruption,’ showcasing a fair judicial system, low crime rates, and minimal corruption, which together create a reliable climate for business. However, the stable scores in these areas highlight the need for ongoing efforts to maintain and improve these standards.

Conversely, the ‘Regulatory Quality’ dimension has consistently scored much lower than other categories. This underscores persistent weaknesses in the ‘Business Regulatory Environment’ and ‘Revenue Mobilization Efficiency,’ highlighting the urgent need for significant reforms to improve business regulations and tax collection efficiency to support private sector development and enhance regulatory frameworks.

The BTI shows Bhutan’s progress with a steadily improving democracy, highlighted by strong democratic institutions and governance stability. It also notes enhanced international cooperation, reflecting Bhutan’s active global engagement and partnership commitment, alongside advancements in the rule of law, signaling improvements in legal structures and institutions. Despite some positive indicators, concerns linger in ‘Political & Social Integration,’ ‘Socio-Economic Development,’ ‘Welfare Regime,’ and ‘Market Organization,’ all showing persistent low performance, highlighting difficulties in achieving political/social cohesion and a competitive market. Additionally, a drop in the ‘Sustainability’ metric signals environmental and planning issues. On a brighter note, the consistency in ‘Clean Elections,’ ‘Rule of Law,’ ‘Vertical Accountability,’ and ‘Public Sector Corruption’ scores over the years points to a stable electoral process, adherence to legal standards, power balance, and ongoing anti-corruption efforts, showcasing a commitment to integrity and transparency in governance.

Conversely, a slight dip in ‘Access to Justice’ hints at a weakening legal framework and barriers to equitable and prompt judicial proceedings. Similarly, minor reductions in ‘Accountability’ and ‘Law Transparency with Predictable Enforcement’ in 2022 signal emerging weaknesses in legal accountability and predictability, raising questions about the robustness of systems to ensure institutional and personal accountability.

The CPI 2023 emphasizes a strong link between corruption and injustice, attributing corruption’s persistence to flaws in justice systems, lack of resources, and insufficient autonomy from government bodies. It emphasizes the need for efforts to boost the justice system’s independence, transparency, and efficiency, highlighting the role of anti-corruption actions in promoting human rights and justice worldwide.

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