Haider Al lawati –
The majority of the Arab countries lag in the annual assessment of the International Transparency organisation in 2016, according to the latest report it published in January this year. The report said 90 per cent of Arab countries obtained less than 50 points. Denmark topped the list globally with 90 points. The report indicated that no country has reached the full score of 100 points. The report also indicated that six out of the world’s 10 most corrupt countries are from the Arab region — Syria, Iraq, Somalia, Sudan, Yemen and Libya, all of which suffer from political instability, wars and terrorism. In addition, the report, which covers 176 countries, shows that over two-third of countries are under the 50-point level, with the global average standing at 43 points. According to the report, the most corrupt country is Somalia, which got 10 points, although it has improved compared to previous years where its average was only 8 points.
According to the report of the International Monetary Fund, corruption in the public sector worldwide is costing the global economy an estimated loss of $1.5 to 2 trillion a year in the form of bribes and incurs massive expenses including weakening economic growth, loss of tax revenues and poverty. From this perspective, the IMF underlines anticorruption as a vital tool for macroeconomic stability, a main task of the IMF.
As for the Sultanate, ITO report indicates that it ranked 64th globally and 5th among Arab countries. This shows steady ranking of the Sultanate in the index at 45 points without change since 2014, or less than 50 points, despite the drop of most Arab countries in the global ranking. The results of this index are based on a survey of expert opinions and specialised polls and the adoption of at least three sources available for assessment of each country. The assessment of the Sultanate was based on data and reports issued by five international organisations: Bertelsmann Foundation, the Democratisation and Economic Development Index (based in Germany), the Economic Intelligence Unit of Economist Group, Global Insight and Political Risk Services Corporation (both founded in America) and the World Economic Forum.
On its part, the Sultanate is seeking, through the State’s Financial and Administrative Apparatus, to follow up the results of the Corruption Perception Index, which works in conjunction with all institutions in Oman to improve and enhance performance and strengthen the Sultanate’s ranking in international indicators.
The apparatus compiled all the reports issued by the Sultanate and tracked the detailed indicators in each of the five institutions tasked with assessing the Sultanate and identified its areas of interest, assessment aspects related to the Corruption Perception Index, data compilation tools, down to extracting assessment elements, markers and justifications for each separate institution and identifying points of strength and weakness, so as to look into mechanisms for improving the Sultanate’s ranking in international indices.
Moreover, the cabinet is following up this issue on its part. The Cabinet issued several directives and circulars on combating all types of corruption, and formed a ministerial committee specialising in enhancing the Sultanate’s competition to be a hub for foreign investments in the region. The Sultanate is also a member of the United Nations Anti-corruption Convention. The government is seeking to deepen the bulk of efforts to promote integrity and participation of civil society in maintaining the achievements of home values and instil the values of good citizenship within the society, enlightened by the guidance of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos from many of HM’s Royal Speeches that call for the importance of preserving the nation’s gains and capabilities.
The Omani society is required today to improve the status of the Sultanate in international organisations, such as ITO who works on combating perceptions of corruption, improving the economic and social situation, promoting values of integrity and participation of civil society in various businesses, in addition to adoption of the principles of participation and transparency in the development process, the involvement of the concerned institutions and drawing development plans for the future. All these factors will contribute in preserving the achievements and gains made by the nation and its capabilities. Finally, these issues will enhance the Sultanate’s competitive situation, attract further investments and provide employment opportunities for citizens in the future.