Transparency International (TI), has ranked Nigeria at 149th with a score of 25 out of 100 on its corruption perception index, (CPI), which measures levels of corruption in public sectors in 180 countries and territories.
The report showed that Sub-Saharan Africa was the region with the lowest performance on the CPI. It had an average score of 32. This is a significant improvement over previous years and highlights the need to take immediate action.
Transparency International’s corruption perception score scored 180 countries. A country’s score is based on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 indicates that it is very corrupt while 100 means that it’s very clean.
Over 120, or two-thirds (2/3) of these countries scored less than 50. The average score of 43 was a failing grade globally. In 2020, corruption was widespread in the world. It undermined COVID-19’s response, threatened global recovery and contributed to democratic backsliding.
“In 2020, Denmark and New Zealand were the top-scoring countries for corruption perceptions, scoring 88. Finland, Sweden, Sweden and Switzerland followed closely. South Sudan and Somalia scored just 12 on the index, making them the worst offenders.” the report stated.
It was also revealed that, despite some progress in fighting corruption, many countries are still failing to effectively tackle it. Nearly half of all countries remain stagnant on the CPI for almost a decade.
The report states that the COVID-19 pandemic was more than a health and economic crisis. It was also a corruption crisis. This was evident in the COVID-19 response. There was bribery for COVID-19 testing, treatment and public procurement of medical supplies, as well as general preparedness.
2020 was a terrible year in history. The global COVID-19 pandemic, its devastating effects and reports of corruption during COVID-19 all reverberated around the globe.
It stated that “Reports about corruption have increased since the pandemic broke out, and countless lives lost due to the issue undermining an equitable global response. In Nigeria, civil society organisations denounced reports of hoarding COVID-19 palliatives89 state-owned and called for anti-corruption institutions and to investigate the allegations.”
Transparency International observed that countries that invest in healthcare have a tendency to do better on the corruption index, which diverts money from essential services. Conversely, governments with higher levels of corruption, regardless how economic development, tend to invest less in their own health systems.
It recommended that governments in the region take decisive action to reverse SSA’s current position as the worst performing country on the CPI. This was especially true for economies that are already suffering from the ongoing economic recession caused by COVID-19.
The report placed Malawi and Zambia on a watchlist as they scored 33 and 30 points, respectively. There is hope that there will be a change of government to drive improvements in the future.
It stated that the rising levels of corruption could be due to inefficient national procurement systems. A stronger commitment to reforms in procurement and more open civic spaces will help to increase transparency and accountability.