Bhutan ranked 25th least corrupt country for second consecutive year

Bhutan ranks 25 least corrupted country


Bhutan maintained its score of 68th position consecutively for the fifth year and ranked 25 for the second consecutive year.

According to Transparency International, through its CPI released by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC), Bhutan is ranked the 25th least corrupt country with a score of 68, through its corruption perceptions index (CPI).

According to the ACC, the CPI 2022 ranked and scored 180 countries and territories by their perceived levels of public sector corruption on a scale of 0-100, where 100 is very clean and 0 is highly corrupt.

The CPI 2022 assessed countries’ responses to corruption over the last decade and beyond by using 13 different independent data sources consisting of expert assessments and surveys of business people.

According to the CPI 2022, more than two-third of the countries scored below 50 and the average global score has remained static at 43 for the eleventh consecutive year. In the last five years, eight countries have significantly improved while 10 countries which include the high-ranking countries like Austria, Luxembourg and the United Kingdom have significantly declined.

The CPI 2022 highlights the relationship of corruption both as a cause and a consequence to peace and security with analysis highlighting that countries with low CPI not only fail to guarantee peace and security but also fuels rise in conflicts and organized crimes, including terrorism.

The CPI 2022 calls the attention of governments across the globe to prioritize transparency, oversight, and accountability.

The CPI recommended strengthening institutional controls to reinforce checks and balances and separation of power; enhancing access to information to promote civic engagement and oversight on resource distribution and spending; regulating and controlling conflict of interests in service delivery and public processes; and combating transnational forms of corruption through international cooperation and collaboration.

While Bhutan has maintained its score and ranking at the global level in CPI 2022, the press release from the ACC states that Bhutan is among 124 countries that have stagnant scores as per the CPI 2022. “Bhutan has been consecutively placed at sixth position in the Asia and Pacific Region for the last ten years.”

Overall, during the last ten years, the ACC said that Bhutan’s consistent performance in the CPI assessment indicates that the country is doing moderately well in making progress towards sustainable development.

It states the Global Insight Country Risk Ratings 2021 exhibits that dimension associated to regulatory quality has consistently remained substantially below government effectiveness, political stability, rule of law and control of corruption denoting the urgency to further strengthen the formulation, implementation and enforcement of rigorous policies and regulations for seamless business operations, regulatory compliance and bureaucratic efficiency or transparency.

However, as compared to the previous years, there is a slight improvement in the rating of government effectiveness indicating that the country has strengthened policy consistency and forward planning in the country.

According to the Bertelsmann Foundation Transformation Index (BTI) 2022, Bhutan has been categorized as ‘Limited’ under the status index and ‘Good’ under the governance index, reflecting the country’s gradual progress towards becoming an established democracy.

The status index evaluates the status of democratic and market-economy transformation in a country, while the governance index evaluates the quality of governance among the decision makers, said the ACC.

Regarding the assessment by the varieties of democracy project, it states that indicators related to access to justice, clean election index, and transparent law with predictable enforcement have increased, indicators like accountability index, diagonal accountability index and rule of law index have declined in the last year of assessment.

This has led to a decrease in the score from 71 in 2021 to 70 in 2022 for the varieties of democracy project. This indicates the criticality for the government and the stakeholders to augment and reinforce continued effort in promoting systems of integrity, accountability, and performance in strengthening democracy and good governance.

The diagonal accountability index of the varieties of democracy project assesses the extent to which the government is accountable to the media and the civil society. Slight decrease in this score corroborates with the recommendation of the TI’s 2021 assessment of the ACC Bhutan, as part of its Anti-Corruption Agency Strengthening Initiative, to improve civil society and the media’s role in the fight against corruption, the press release added.

Going Forward

Bhutan has continued to remain amongst the top 25 cleanest countries in the world and this is attributed to the visionary and unerring Leadership of His Majesty The King and the priority given to integrity and accountability on the national agenda.

While Bhutan’s score has moderately improved over the last decade, the ACC said that Bhutan is now at the critical point where “statistically significant” changes would be necessary to improve its score and rank in the TI’s CPI. “This means that Bhutan must match up with the developed nations ranked above it which have the political system and economic environment or institutional characteristics to encourage low levels of corruption.”

According to the ACC, the national target for the 12th Five Year Plan is to improve Bhutan’s CPI score to 69 by 2023 from the baseline of 67 in 2017. Further, promoting systems of integrity and strengthening governance machinery with enhanced accountability and transparency is a critical precondition to realize the Royal Vision of ‘Developed Bhutan’ over the next 10 years. Hence, “It is critical that the anti-corruption agenda remain one of the national priorities for a greater conscious effort in reducing corruption in the country.”

Meanwhile, the ACC is geared towards contributing to the long-term national goal guided by its Strategic Anti-Corruption Roadmap 2021-2030. 

The ACC said that the key interventions in the coming days include the full implementation of Integrity Vetting System, Model Public Service Code of Conduct, lifestyle watch of public servants, proactive research, and intel-based investigation, strengthening law enforcement and regulatory agencies, and promoting participation of youth, media, civil society, and private sector in the fight against corruption.

It states those interventions are generally in line with the recommendations of the CPI 2022 to strengthen national integrity systems, civil liberties and participation, and rule of law and law enforcement agencies, among others.

While Bhutan’s annual rank and score on TI’s CPI highlight the country’s ongoing commitment to transparency and good governance and serves as a reminder to remain vigilant in preventing and combating corruption for the generations of the past, present and future.