Letters

Increase public service salaries in graft war

review

Thieves of State — Why Corruption Threatens Global Security by Sarah Chayes. PHOTO | COURTESY

Summary

  • According to a 2019 report by Transparency International, Kenya ranked position 144 out of the 180 countries on the anti-corruption index.
  • Auditor-General's reports show corruption costs Kenya a third of its national budget, which is almost equivalent to seven percent of GDP.

On December 9 nations under the UN observe International Anti-Corruption Day. In most developing and emerging economies such as Kenya, the corruption phenomenon is endemic. This is mainly due to the low levels of public sector wages and weak political and economic institutions to constrain and challenge the political elite who preserve the status quo.

According to a 2019 report by Transparency International, Kenya ranked position 144 out of the 180 countries on the anti-corruption index. Auditor-General's reports show corruption costs Kenya a third of its national budget, which is almost equivalent to seven percent of GDP.

Corruption is expensive, corrosive, deterrent and a big constraint on growth. Undoubtedly, it is a problem we cannot afford to ignore. There is an urgent need for declared intentions for concrete results.

Philippines President Benigno Aquino’s defining principle when looking for votes in 2010 was, ‘When no one is corrupt,no one will be poor’. This boosted his country’s foreign direct investments and economic growth. In Kenya, citizens are increasingly resigning to fate, saying on social media that only God will work in their favour in search of success.

The corruption monster reduces the public revenue, contributes a great deal to larger fiscal deficits, making it more difficult for governments to run a sound fiscal policy.

GDP-to-debt ratio analysis from most sub-Sahara indicates these countries are at risk of facing a public finance crisis. This is because corruption has a negative correlation on tax administration and customs, leading to financial haemorrhage, tax malpractices and wanton wastage.

Kenyans can aim at being honest, seeking the right leadership with a commitment to zero tolerance for corruption. Secondly, the government should increase public sector wages to reduce supply of corruption.