Bhutan’s TI score

Bhutan’s Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) has said that Bhutan’s 26th spot ranking in the Transparency International ranking, an improvement from 2016 and 2015, is the best ever performance of Bhutan since it featured on the list in 2006, around 12 years ago.

Going by the ACC, this result is not an accident as the ACC itself has ascribed factors like guidance from His Majesty The King, strong political will and cooperation of all stakeholders.

It says that specifically in 2017 the analysis of various data reveal that there have been significant initiatives undertaken on good governance by the government and relevant stakeholders towards promoting transparency and accountability.

Some of these are ensuring quality of budgetary and financial management through Government Performance Management System, introduction of Performance Management (MaX), increased civil society participation and most importantly improved accountability mechanisms initiated across the agencies, among others.

In addition to the above despite the presence of a strong opposition party, multiple media outlets and the social media, even the government’s worst critics have found it difficult to point to graft and ‘scams’ in the current government.

In that sense and going by all the data the current government has run a comparatively cleaner and tighter ship.

Even where there have been doubts the government itself has taken the initiative to report cases like the Labour Ministry and Le Meridien cases to the ACC. The former Foreign Minister stepped down while the Lhakhang Karpo case was on.

One key factor in this has been the current government learning the hard lessons of what happened to the former government on issues of corruption.

The other major factor has been that while some things can be said about the current Prime Minister, one tag that will not stick on him is that of being corrupt or going out of his way to help family and friends.

It is due to this leadership and the cooperation of his relatively young cabinet members that the PDP government has smartly avoided the landmine of corruption scams, including high profile policy corruption cases that haunted the former government.

However, as the ACC said this is not time for complacency but it should encourage all the stakeholders to not let the guard down.

‘The highest probable risk to development that I foresee is corruption.’-
His Majesty The King on 107th National Day

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