At least 68 per cent rural and 65 per cent urban people in the country experienced corruption while seeking legitimate services from the law enforcement agencies, the road transport authority, courts, land department, educational institutions and 11 other service sectors, according a nationwide household survey report of the Transparency International Bangladesh released Thursday.
The survey found that around 76 per cent rural and 70 per cent urban people experienced law enforcers’ corruption while 68 per cent rural and 61 per cent urban people had to bribe Bangladesh Road Transport Authority officials to get legitimate services.
TIB released the survey report at a news conference held at its head office in the capital.
Speaking at the news conference TIB trustee board chairperson Sultana Kamal said that due to lack of accountability corruption increased in service delivery system depriving underprivileged citizens of their legitimate rights.
Sultana expressed grave concern over what she called deprived people being compelled to surrender to the corrupt service providers, compromising dignity.
She said that though the country’s anti-corruption law and policy structure became stronger over the years, lack of enforcement made them useless.
‘Political will is essential to curb corruption and ensure people’s rights-based services,’ she said.
Salary enhancement of service providers could control greedy officials, said TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman.
Bribe taking has been institutionalized in service providing agencies of the government as well as the NGOs, he said.
TIB conducted the survey of 15,581 households in eight divisions between January and March of 2018.
The respondents shared
their experiences of 2017.
The surveyors took respondents answers about bribes they had to pay, negligence, harassment, cheating, nepotism, misappropriations and interference of influential persons.
The survey revealed that the highest average bribe of Tk 33,805 had to be paid by an individual household for taking gas supply connection.
According to the survey report for taking judicial service on an average Tk 16,314 had to be paid by an individual household.
It reveals that Tk 14,865 had to be paid to the get insurance claims settled.
It shows that an individual household had to pay on average Tk 11,458 to the land office to get its service.
According to the survey, an estimated amount of Tk 10688.9 crore was paid as bribes in the country 2017, which was 3.4 per cent of the national budget for fiscal 2016-17 and 0.5 per cent of the gross domestic product.
TIB officials Wahid Alam, Farzana Rahman and Nur-e-Alam read out the survey report summery.
The survey revealed that people aged between 55 and 64 were the worst victims of corruption.
It shows 63 per cent of farmers, 57.5 per cent of fishermen, 54.6 per cent of transport workers, 54 per cent of the cottage industry owners and 53.1 per cent of the non-resident Bangladeshis were the top five categories of citizens who were forced to pay bribe for getting legitimate services.
At least 89 per cent respondents said that they did not get legitimate services without bribing, 47.1 per cent said that they paid bribes to smoothen the process of getting services while 37 per cent said they bribed not knowing what was the legitimate fees for accessing services.
The survey report shows between 2015 and 2017, corruption increased in agriculture sector, judicial services, gas and power utilities, BRTA, health sector, insurance and micro-credit providers.
Around 39 per cent respondents said that they faced service providers’ negligence and 6.9 per cent were harassed in 2017.
And 30.4 per cent of the respondents said they faced negligence of service providers and 5.7 per cent said that they faced harassments in the hands of service providers in 2015.
TIB officials said that service seekers were forced to pay bribes for extra advantage.
They said digitization and monitoring helped slightly curb corruption in the education sector, passport office, local government office, land record office and the tax administration in 2017 compared to 2015.
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