Courtesy of NACC

Thailand’s corruption perceptions in 2022 improved in global corruption survey

Its rank has jumped up nine places on the ladder_from 110th to 101st, but with only one more score acquired

Secretary-General of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) Niwatchai Kasemmongkol revealed the fresh result of the global corruption perceptions assessment by the Berlin-based Transparency International (TI) yesterday. Its 2022 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) has shown the improved rank and overall score of the country as the rank has jumped from 110th to 101st this year and the score was recorded at 36, increasing one score from 35 recorded in 2021.

The TI’s annual CPI is a much-awaited assessment of corruption worldwide as it applies data sources of the world’s notable organisations to assess corruption in all aspects concerned, including politics, economics, public sector performances, and others. It ranks 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople. It relies on 13 independent data sources and uses a scale of zero to 100, where zero is highly corrupt and 100 is very clean.

Thailand’s scores have improved in two sources, which are IMD World Competitiveness Yearbook, and the WEF Executive Opinion Survey, from 39 in 2021 to 43, and from 42 in 2021 to 45, respectively. The first assesses whether bribery and corruption still exist and to what extent they do, while the latter assesses to what extent the private sector has to pay bribes in running their businesses. 

On the contrary, its scores fell in two data sources, which are the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy, which assesses public perception levels on impacts of corruption on society (35 from 36 in 2021), and the WJP’s assessment, which focuses on public sector misconduct and negligence (34 from 35 in 2021).

Apart from these highs and lows, the scores in five other data sources remain the same as in 2021. These include the Bertelsmann Stiftung Transformation Index assessing efficiency in the government’s corruption suppression and law enforcement against corruption (37), the Economist Intelligence Unit Country Risk Ratings assessing transparency and accountability of the state budget (37), the Global Insights Country Risk Ratings assessing businesses and corruption levels (35), the PRS Group International Country Risk Guide assessing political corruption and patronage (32), and the Varieties of Democracy Project assessing political, judicial and public sector corruption (26).

l Courtesy of NACC

Mr. Niwatchai said an in-depth analysis of the CPI result will be conducted by the office before it’s disseminated to the public. Initially, in the eyes of foreign investors surveyed, the slight increase in the scores may have resulted from the fact that the Thai government has attempted to suppress corruption and taken punitive action against officials while applying more a digital-based work approach to increase accountability and transparency, Mr. Niwatchai said. However, the lowered scores may have resulted from their views that the problem still exists despite the government’s efforts, he noted.

Mr. Niwatchai conceded that the action was slightly taken slowly due to disruption by Covid-19.  The NACC, he said, has been putting efforts to promote a more accountable and transparent public sector. It has introduced a digital-driven work approach to the public sector for more accountable and transparent performances as well as the indicator known as ITA to help the sector assess itself against corruption.

This, he added, will help improve the overall score and rank in the CPI of the country.

The 2022 CPI, however, did not include high-profile corruption-related cases including the DNP bribe-taking scandal, the DSI’s extortion allegation, the police’s extortion allegation against Chinese visitors, and others which were exposed later last year.

l Credit: TI

In ASEAN, Singapore was ranked the top, with an overall score recorded at 83 (5th worldwide), followed by Malaysia (47), Vietnam (42), and Thailand (36). Globally, Denmark was perceived in the CPI as the least corrupt country, with a score of 90, followed by Finland and New Zealand at 87 each. The TI said overall more than two-thirds of countries (68 per cent) scored below 50 and the average global score remains unchanged at 43.

Since 2012, 25 countries significantly improved their scores, but in the same period, 31 countries significantly declined.

“Corruption has made our world a more dangerous place. As governments have collectively failed to make progress against it, they fuel the current rise in violence and conflict – and endanger people everywhere. The only way out is for states to do the hard work, rooting out corruption at all levels to ensure governments work for all people, not just an elite few,” remarked Transparency International’s Chair, Delia Ferreira Rubio.