Corruption is making economy more expensive and less competitive, according to a former bureaucrat.
"Public procurement, public post 'auction', revenue cheating and policy level corruption hurt the economy making it expensive, whereas petty corruption and rent seeking mentality help create public perception about the corruption and government employee," said former finance secretary and economic advisor to the Prime Minister Ramehswor Prasad Khanal presenting his paper on 'Anti corruption and Good Governance: Challenges from Bureaucratical Dimension,' in an interaction on 'Good Governance — Zero Tolerance to Corruption' organised by Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI) here in the Valley today.
"Petty corruption and rent seeking mentality create negative image of government employee but it doesnot hurt economy," he said, adding that public procurement, public post 'auction', and revenue cheating, however, hurt economy making the economy less competitive.
Similarly, corruption fuells black markets too. The world's shadow economy or the illegal economic activities, that go untaxed, accounts for 17 per cent of the global economy. Nepal's shadow economy is as big as formal economy that is not only bleeding the government coffer white, "but also channelising resources to the unproductive sectors widening the gap between the rich and poor," he added.
Khanal also tried to demystified the popular myths on corruption like all the government employees are corrupt and corruption is rising due to low pay scale. "The most corrupt are the ones, who are wealthy," former bureaucrat added. "Similarly, corruption is rampant in the private sector too but the people blame government employees only due to their popular perception."
Corruption is multi-pronged and due to massive corruption, Nepal is still in the group of Least Developed Countries (LDCs), whereas the ones in the same group with Nepal some three decades ago have upgraded, Khanal said, adding "Apart from strong political will, some simplification in processes, usages of IT and transparency will help check the corruption."He also prescribed to give more teeth to the CIAA Act and include provision to punish both bribe taking and giving parties to curtail corruption.
Chief secretary Madhav Prasad Ghimire concluding the two-day workshop urged the private sector to join hands in checking corruption.
"Institutional corruption is much more dangerous than individual corruption and making political parties more transparent could help reduce institutional corruption," he said, adding that the election system also has to be changed to encourage honest leaders.