Yet Another Corruption Perception Index – Transparency International’s mindless logic

A press conference is going to take place today in which the high and mighty, Syed Adil Gilani, Chairman of Transparency International Pakistan is going to thunder that “Pakistan  2010 Corruption Perceptions Index  Score  is   2.3 against 2.4 in 2009, and out of 178 countries, its   ranking as most corrupt country has slipped 7 ranks,   from 42 in 2009 to  34  most corrupt country in 2010.” I can imagine Ansar Abbasi’s tajziya on the matter in tomorrow’s Jang and The News. All will somehow be linked to the PPP government and more importantly the man they love to hate most- the President of Pakistan.

According to the Press Release that has been posted on the TI Pakistan website: “Political will of the government  to fight Corruption is lacking which has resulted

in the Supreme Court of Pakistan  to take  Suo Moto action  against  mega corruption in  NICL, Pakistan Steel, Rental Power Plants.  The CPI 2010 reveals  that     corruption in Pakistan is increasing, while in  Bangladesh it is decreasing. Bangladesh was perceived to be the most corrupt  country in 2001, 2002 and 2003  and    its ranking      in 2010   is 39  most  corrupt country.”

So far so good, but somehow the facts being mentioned by Adil Gilani do not meet the eye:

The direct  impact of increased Corruption is witnessed in the rise in the prices of food commodities which  according to the latest official data of Federal Bureau of Statistics,  have increased up to 120 percent in last one year viz.  sugar from Rs 54 to Rs 80, pulses from Rs 50 to Rs 110, eggs from Rs 35 to Rs 60, and the  Foreign Direct Investment for the fiscal year 2009-2010  dropped to US  $  2.21 billion from US$ 3.71 billion in FY 2008-2009, and in July-Sept 2010 it is further dropped to US$ 387.4 million ( 68% of last year). Foreign debt on Pakistan increased from US $ 40 Billion in 1999 to US $   46 billion in 2008, whereas in last two years it has increased  to US $ 53.5 billion.

May I dare ask the Transparent chairman, how in the world prices of food commodities are linked with corruption? Are governments overcharging the prices of sugar, eggs and pulses causing the prices to go higher? May I also ask him that even though he has pointed out that FDI has gone down what about Foreign Portfolio Investment? Why has it gone up in 2009 and 2010? What about the element of fall of PKR against the USD? Don’t you think that if the GDP growth in rupee terms was 4.1%, in USD terms it’s going to be lower? Since April 2008, PKR has fallen nearly 30% against the USD. The impact of translational losses have been enormous on our foreign debt. According to the Economic Survey 2009-10, since 1993, Pakistan has suffered an average translational loss (caused by the change in currency values) of approximately $248 million per year on our foreign debt. This means that every year because of our currency’s movement against the dollar, our foreign debt goes up by $248 million. The same has been very high since 2001 with a peak of $3.1 billion in translational losses suffered in FY08.

In any case those who want to lambast the government for being corrupt, they will keep on doing. Let them do it. But they must also see this program before they can vouch for the credentials of Adil Gilani!

What is sad is that inflation, increase in foreign debt, and GDP growth have all been linked to corruption without realizing that unless you have peace and stability in the country, you cant achieve any of the goals!



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