Government satisfied with transparency ranking
Cabinet members were satisfied with the most recent rating by Transparency International that put Thailand as the third most transparent country in Southeast Asia and 76th out of 168 countries worldwide, according to a government spokesperson who added the new draft constitution will contain mechanisms to further reduce corruption.
Thailand finished ahead of seven other members of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) Economic Community, but trailed Singapore and Malaysia in the annual global rankings. The survey by Transparency International, a non-governmental organization, is based on “expert perceptions” of corporate and public sector corruption. Sixty eight percent of the countries in the world have a serious corruption problem, including half of the G20 nations, the organization said in its report on the results.
Details on individual countries were not yet released by the organization at press time, but Thailand’s 2015 score of 38 points out of a possible 100 was the same as in 2014. Both years, however, were somewhat better than the 35 points scored in 2013 under the previous government. The current government of Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha has put a strong emphasis on tackling corruption, which is a complex problem that is rarely solved quickly or easily.
Meanwhile, a survey by a local university delivered a more optimistic assessment on progress against corruption. The University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce said its survey conducted in conjunction with the Anti-Corruption Organization of Thailand indicated corruption had fallen significantly, reaching its lowest level in six years.
The University said its Corruption Situation Index improved to 55 points in December from 49 points a year ago. A score higher than 50 is considered positive, with corruption perceived as being less the closer the score is to 100.
The University surveyed 2,400 respondents. They included members of the public, the private sector and government officials. While corruption is still a serious problem, respondents said the cost of bribes had dropped to 1 to 15 percent of a project’s value from 5 to 15 percent in 2014, and 25-35 percent in 2010-2013.
The improvement is equal to a savings of roughly $3 billion to $5 billion in money that would have been spent on bribes. The savings equate to 0.7 to 1 percent of gross domestic product, University President Saowanee Thairungroj said.
In a related step to improve transparency, the Securities and Exchange announced last week that it will hold public hearings on its revision to rules governing the capital markets.
The revisions cover future exchanges, derivative clearing houses, securities clearing houses and securities depositories with regard to improvement of business contingency management, IT security, operational outsourcing and complaint handling. They are intended to bring the Thai rules in line with international standards.
The consultation paper on the revisions is available at www.sec.or.th. Stakeholders and interested parties are welcome to submit comments, the SEC said.