Accra, Oct. 18, GNA - Corruption perception is on the rise in Ghana according to Ghana Integrity Initiative (GII), local Chapter of Transparency International.
It rated Ghana as scoring 3.5, a drop of last year's score of 3.6. in its 2005 Corruption Perception Index (CPI) report. Ranking 65 on the list of 159 countries, Ghana is thus far from achieving the score of 5 and maximum score of 10, which are taken as the mark for countries that were doing relatively well in tackling corruption and capable of achieving economic growth and development The score of 3.5, exactly the same score the country had in 2000, according to the GII indicated that Ghana had slugged in her efforts to fight against corruption.
Mr Daniel Batidam, Executive Secretary of GII said at the launch of this year's report that this raised questions about whether the efforts to combat corruption were stagnating or retrogressing, considering that it fell far short of Ghana's best CPI score of 3.9 in 2002.
He said the corruption index, put together by business people and country analysts must not be treated as mere perception but should be taken seriously by government since it would greatly enhance investment and development of the country.
He called on government, as a means of improving on this score, to expedite action on the passage of a credible freedom of information Act to facilitate public access to information on government activities, including budgetary allocation, revenue and expenditure. Mr. Batidam said this in addition to a review of the Public Procurement Act 663 and the speedy passage of the whistle-blower legislation would enhance accountability and transparency and increase trust in government.
He said Ghana joined other 18 countries to seek debt relief through the Highly Indebted Poor Country Initiative (HIPC) in 2001 through which a lot of resources were freed into the system, stating that, yet she had not made any improvement adding, "Ghana like all other HIPC countries scored below 4 in the CPI 2005."
Mr. Batidam said this indicated that there was a link between poverty, corruption and development as most of the countries that scored higher than 9 with very low levels of perceived corruption were predominantly rich countries.
"GII joins the Transparency International movement worldwide to urge governments, especially in low income countries such as Ghana to increase their political will and expand efforts to fight corruption in order to reap the fruits of democracy and development." Professor Emmanuel Gyima-Boadi, Board Member of the GII said the Procurement Act created the possibility for checking corruption and fraud and called on government to strengthen the public office holder and asset declaration regime as a means to enhance accountability. He also called for, among other things, the improvement in the parliamentary vetting process to make it more vigorous and effective as a tool of public accountability.
The 2005 index on Ghana is based on data from eight surveys conducted between 2003 and 2005.
The institutions that conducted the survey in Ghana included Centre for International Earth Science Information Network at Columbia University, UN Economic Commission for Africa and the World Market Research Centre.
The score for 1999 was 3.3, 2001, 3.4, 2002, 3.9 and 2003 3.3. The number of countries covered in the 2005 CPI is 159 compared to 146 in 2004, an increase of 13 new entrants.