A latest survey by Transparency International, released on Tuesday, has found that over 900 million people across 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region have had to pay bribe.
The watchdog asked nearly 22, 000 people about their experience with corruption in their respective countries, concluding that “just over one in four people surveyed have paid a bribe to access public services”.
When asked about bribery paid in the form of a ‘gift’ or a ‘favour’ to public service officers, 40 per cent of the Pakistanis who took part in the survey answered in affirmative. The police force topped the list of public services that take bribes.
According to the report, “just under a third of people who had come into contact with a police officer in the last 12 months said they paid a bribe.” Adding that the poorest people were hit worst with 38 per cent claiming to have paid a bribe – highest in any income category.
While the survey found that younger people were hit the worst, there seemed to be an equality between the genders when it comes to bribes – as illustrated below:
Every two people in five held the opinion that corruption had increased recently, a third saw no change while only one in every five thought corruption had decreased.
When asked about the rate of corruption in the country, 35 per cent of Pakistanis believed that it had increased in the last one year. Pakistan had ended the year 2016 with a score of 32 on the Transparency Index report issued earlier this year, two points higher than the previous year.
According to Transparency International “the report comes at a key moment when many governments in the region are preparing their agendas to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs set out development priorities for 2030 which include, among others, reducing corruption and bribery in all their forms.”
“Governments must do more to deliver on their anti-corruption commitments. It’s time to stop talking and act. Millions of people are forced to pay bribes for public services and it is the poor who are most vulnerable,” said the chairman of the regulatory organisation, Jose Ugaz. “Without proper law enforcement corruption thrives. Bribery is not a small crime, it takes food off the table, it prevents education, it impedes proper healthcare and ultimately it can kill.”