Missing Sectors in WB’s Diagnosis of Corruption in Ethiopia

A diagnosis on the corruption level of eight selected sectors in Ethiopia was made public on January 13, by the World Bank. The study which was done in collaboration with the Federal Ethics and Anti-Corruption Commission (FEACC), follows a sectoral approach citing its easiness to understand and focus as a reason.  Dubbed as keen to the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) sectors that were included in the study contains: health, education, water, justice, construction, land, telecommunications and mining. These sectors are categorized in three groups called basic service sector, old investment sectors and new sectors, based on their service and time of establishment have shown mixed results in the study.

Telecommunications was listed as the most at risk of corruption and high levels of corruption perception due to its weak accountability and monopolistic power. Yet other sectors that are essential for the economy and identified as hot beds of corruption, by the government, were missing from the document includes: tax collection and governmental procurement.

As the country strives to cover its budget from domestic sources broadening the base and increasing the total volume of tax collection has become one of the focus areas of the government. This has resulted in increased revenue dramatically in the last decade. However, the state’s responsible organ for the task has been safe heaven for corrupt bureaucrats. This situation and administrative loop holes hand in hand with its bad reputation of the past has disabled the tax collector from achieving a tolerable level of corruption, the government admits. Surprisingly, the World Bank’s diagnose hasn’t examined this issue.

With numerous projects going on in the country, federal as well as regional governments undertake procurements worth billions. The amount of money and the sheer number of government transaction coupled with absence of adequate skilled man power in the field has made the sector highly prone to corruption. Here again, the sector was not included in the diagnosis.

Ali Sulaiman, commissioner of FEACC, sites lack of enough funding for this.

The other interesting outcome of the study is the exceptionally high levels of gap between the perception and reality of corruption in the country. Even though it needs further study as to the reasons for this, political disfranchisement, culture and attitude of the society and the growing level of income inequality can be among the plausible explanations.

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