| ACT PNG!
PORT MORESBY - Papua New Guinea’s international corruption rating has slipped a further one-point, from 28 to 27, in the latest figures released by Transparency International.
This is bad news for the economy and a sad reflection on the state of our democracy.
Research shows that just a one-point drop in our corruption score on average costs the nation over K10 billion in economic growth.
It also negatively affects our credit rating which makes it harder and more expensive for the government to borrow.
A smaller economy and less borrowing mean reduced government revenues and even less spending on essential services like health, education and transport infrastructure.
Before the latest figures, PNG was already the worst ranked country for corruption in the Asia-Pacific region and has now slipped a further five places to be 142nd in the world.
PNG sits alongside Uganda and Angola in the ranking, below countries like Liberia, Myanmar and Paraguay.
We are ranked 64 places lower than Solomon Islands, 40 places lower than Indonesia and 27 places below the Philippines.
PNG’s continuing decline in the annual ranking reflects the fact that, while the government talks up its corruption fight, we have yet to see results in terms of corrupt deals reversed or successful prosecutions.
The passage of the ICAC legislation was an important step, but despite numerous expensive corruption investigations in the past and inquiries into major scandals, corruption still flourishes because nobody is ever held accountable.
The government has also broken its promise to release the APEC spending audit and has brushed the Manumanu scandal under the carpet.
Our assessment of the economic cost of corruption is based on research by global financial services company, Price Waterhouse Coopers.
PWC estimates that a one-point change in perceived corruption will on average decrease a country’s GDP by K1,250 per person.
For PNG, with a population of more than eight million, this is equivalent to K10 billion.
But the costs of corruption are not only economic. Corruption impacts societies in a multitude of ways.
Corruption erodes democracy by undermining the effectiveness of government departments, service delivery and accountability.
It undermines people's trust in the political system, its institutions and its leadership. It also leads to environmental degradation and land-grabbing.
In the worst cases, it costs people their lives. It can also cost them their health, education, freedom and money. It can destroy families and communities and undermine our cultures.
ACT NOW! is urging the government to introduce a full suite of measures to improve government transparency and accountability as outlined in its policy proposals.