Global Corruption Barometer 2016: Level of Petty Corruption Remains Low in Georgia but People Consider Government’s Anti-Corruption Policy Ineffective
Transparency International’s Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) is the most extensive worldwide public opinion survey on views and experiences of corruption. As part of the 2016 edition of the GCB, TI surveyed some 60,000 citizens in 42 countries of Europe and Central Asia about their encounters with corruption in their everyday life, levels of corruption in state institutions and the effectiveness of government anti-corruption policies.
According to the survey, 12% of Georgians believe that corruption is among the three most important problems in the country.
This is the fourth-lowest figure in the survey of 42 countries after Germany, Sweden and Switzerland. Belarus and Poland have 6th and 7th lowest figures respectively. The results in Georgia’s neighboring countries are as follows: Corruption was identified among the country’s three most important problems by 21% of the respondents in Azerbaijan, 22% - in Turkey, 37% - in Armenia, and 39% - in Russia 39%.
Corruption in Public Services
According to the 2016 GCB, 58% of Georgians who took part in the survey had been in contact with at least one of eight public services. Among these users of public services, 7% had to pay a bribe at least once over the preceding 12 months. Remarkably, the situation has deteriorated since 2013, when only 4% of public service users reported paying a bribe.
The bribery rate in different services is as follows:
For comparison, 27% of Russians, 22% of Moldovans, 19% of Armenians, 15% of Azerbaijanis and 8% of Turks reported paying a bribe for public services in the 2016 survey.
Influence of Business Sector on Government
As part of the GCB 2016 survey, citizens were asked whether wealthy people have excessive influence on the governments in their countries. In Georgia, 48% of the respondents agreed with the statement that wealthy people often use their influence on government for their own benefit and that it is therefore necessary to address this problem. Excessive influence of wealthy people on government is a “big problem” for 29% of the citizens surveyed in Georgia.
Assessment of Anti-Corruption Policies
Citizen’s attitudes toward government’s anti-corruption policies are also important. In Georgia, 41% of the citizens surveyed believe that government handles corruption fairly or very badly, whereas 26% assessed the government actions to tackle corruption as good or very good.
In Georgia, 44% of the respondents agreed with the statement that it is socially acceptable to report corruption, whereas 29% disagreed. To sum up, the results show that the government of Georgia should battle corruption more actively and raise the public’s awareness on corruption and anti-corruption measures.
Transparency International makes four key recommendations to reduce political corruption and help people speak up without fear of retaliation. Governments across Europe and Central Asia should:
Have transparent rules on lobbying and a public lobbying register, so that policy decisions can be better scrutinised.
Ensure the independence of the judiciary, particularly in EU accession and CIS countries, by reducing the influence of the executive over the judiciary and prosecutorial services and including transparent and objective systems for the appointment, transferral and dismissal of judges and prosecutors.
Adopt and enforce comprehensive legislation to protect whistleblowers.
Support whistleblowers and reporters of corruption and ensure appropriate follow-up to their disclosures.
Additionally, in order to fight corruption in Georgia more effectively, Transparency International Georgia urges the government to establish an independent anti-corruption agency which should be equipped with appropriate powers and resources and must be protected from political influence. TI Georgia has prepared a corresponding legislative proposal, although Parliament is yet to consider it. It is important for the government to approach the challenges of the fight against corruption with an appropriate degree of responsibility and attention and to take effective steps for addressing them.