Build­ing con­fi­dence in deal­ing with cor­rup­tion key to eco­nomic com­pet­i­tive­ness

Sunday News (Zimbabwe) - - Front Page -

THIS in­stal­ment is a con­tin­u­a­tion of the se­ries that started two weeks ago. The de­vel­op­ments in the me­dia prompted me to re-visit the “cor­rup­tion” sub­ject that I have writ­ten about ex­ten­sively in the past, once again.

There has been a lot of cor­rup­tion ac­cu­sa­tions lev­elled against high pro­file and for­mer key Govern­ment per­son­nel. What is quite dis­turb­ing is that th­ese cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions are com­ing, iron­i­cally at the time the coun­try is be­ing rated among the most cor­rupt in the world.

For ex­am­ple, the Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional (TI) ranked Zim­babwe at a high 157 of 180 on Cor­rup­tion Per­cep­tion In­dex 2017, es­ti­mat­ing that losses in­flicted by cor­rup­tion amount to $1 bil­lion an­nu­ally, mak­ing cor­rup­tion one of the most out­stand­ing threats to Zim­babwe’s eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment.

The re­al­ity of the mat­ter is that cor­rup­tion does not only af­fect ex­ter­nal in­vestor con­fi­dence in the coun­try but also af­fects do­mes­tic in­vestor con­fi­dence es­pe­cially when it is per­ceived to be largely driven or ram­pant among those of us who are charged with the gov­er­nance of the coun­try one way or the other.

In one of my past ar­ti­cles on this sub­ject, I ad­vo­cated for the Chi­nese way of deal­ing with cor­rup­tion at Govern­ment level. I found the man­ner the Chi­nese deal with cor­rup­tion in Govern­ment ef­fec­tively de­ter­rent in its sever­ity in na­ture. The Chi­nese jail for long those con­victed of cor­rup­tion no mat­ter your sta­tus in the com­mu­nity. I have a se­ri­ous prob­lem with our at­ti­tude to­wards re­ports on cor­rup­tion.

We seem to have a ten­dency of down play­ing the im­pact of th­ese ex­ter­nal­i­ties such as cor­rup­tion and al­low the state of de­nial to cloud our judge­ment. In the past, we viewed or­gan­i­sa­tions such as Trans­parency In­ter­na­tional as those bent on ped­dling false­hoods but it is not a crime to take a look at their sta­tis­tics as well.

There was hope when the Govern­ment as­sumed power af­ter the Op­er­a­tion Re­store Legacy last year and the Pres­i­dent right­fully an­nounced a dis­po­si­tion to­wards deal­ing with cor­rup­tion. It does not mat­ter whether we be­lieve it or not, cor­rup­tion af­fects the coun­try’s in­vestor con­fi­dence, as I have in­di­cated above, both do­mes­tic and ex­ter­nally. Be it deal­ing with ease of do­ing busi­ness chal­lenges or pro­mot­ing the coun­try’s open­ness for busi­ness, cor­rup­tion adds a neg­a­tive pre­mium to ac­tu­ally make the cost of do­ing busi­ness in Zim­babwe high.

Cor­rup­tion adds a neg­a­tive pre­mium to make the coun­try un­com­pet­i­tive in the eyes of the po­ten­tial ex­ter­nal and do­mes­tic in­vestors. In one of my ar­ti­cles in 2016, I re­ferred to cor­rup­tion as the “la­tent evil” that has ham­strung the coun­try’s eco­nomic re­cov­ery and growth.

Ig­nor­ing cor­rup­tion in my opin­ion af­fected the Zim As­set and we need to do more so that cor­rup­tion will not af­fect eco­nomic re­cov­ery, growth and achieve­ment of vision 2030. Build­ing con­fi­dence in deal­ing with cor­rup­tion takes more than ad­mit­ting that cor­rup­tion does ex­ist and it is ram­pant.

It takes more than talk­ing about it. Build­ing con­fi­dence in ad­dress­ing the scourge of cor­rup­tion takes the will to bring all the per­pe­tra­tors to jus­tice with­out fear and favour. We may not like some of the sources of in­for­ma­tion about the ex­is­tence of cor­rup­tion in the coun­try, but it would be wise to al­low our­selves to be open-minded and ef­fec­tively in­ves­ti­gate and bring to jus­tice the cul­prits.

Pro­por­tion­ate to the size of the econ­omy and the cur­rent state of the econ­omy and in­dex of 157 out of 180 coun­tries is a se­ri­ous cause for con­cern. Above all, cor­rup­tion mainly in­volves money and as a re­sult has se­ri­ous fi­nan­cial im­pli­ca­tions for the econ­omy. Il­licit fi­nan­cial deal­ings have con­trib­uted to the cur­rent liq­uid­ity prob­lem in the econ­omy. Cor­rup­tion has gone unchecked for a long time in Zim­babwe and has en­trenched it­self as a cul­ture.

In con­clu­sion, the Govern­ment has a mam­moth task of build­ing con­fi­dence in deal­ing with the scourge of cor­rup­tion in the coun­try that has af­fected both do­mes­tic and for­eign in­vestor con­fi­dence and com­pet­i­tive­ness.

Dr Bongani Ng­wenya is cur­rently based at UKZN as a Post-doc­toral Re­search Fel­low and can be con­tacted at nbon­gani@gmail. com

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Zimbabwe

© PressReader. All rights reserved.