Transparency is limited in Egypt

Transparency is limited in Egypt

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Mon, 17/02/2014 - 17:48
Regimes in Egypt have changed but the state remains stagnant with corruption and a lack of transparency, which are inherent characteristics of an ancient bureaucracy that the revolution failed to overcome because the infrastructure of the regime prior to the revolution is still there, according to Transparency International.
 
In a report from the organization, Egypt was ranked no. 114 out of 177 countries in 2013 on the Corruption Perceptions Index that measures bribery and secret dealings in the public sector.
 
On a scale of 0 to 100, where zero means the most corrupt, Egypt came no. 32, which means it did not even reach the world average of no. 43.
 
The index also showed that 84 percent of the countries of the Middle East and North Africa also did not reach the world average, as they scored an average of 37, despite the Arab Spring that overthrew the regimes in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Yemen.
 
In its report, Transparency International said the ruling authorities in Egypt, Morocco and Tunisia have not fought corruption, reinstated the integrity and independence of the judiciary nor enact certain laws, such as the right of access to information.
 
According to the report, the public sector in Egypt has been a tool of corruption throughout Mubarak’s rule. He tried to get rid of it by privatizing some public sector companies, but this wasted many workers' rights.
 
The report said corruption in the public sector remains one of the biggest challenges beside the corruption in the police force, the political parties and the judiciary.
 
It said the way to fight corruption was to raise the level of transparency in all state institutions and in the decision-making process, but confirmed that it is still very difficult to investigate corruption and prosecute officials because the regime protects them.
 
Another report of Transparency International revealed that Egypt was one of the most nine corrupt countries in the defense and armament sector under Mubarak and later under the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces in 2011. 
 
The other countries monitored in the report were Angola, Algeria, Cameroon, Congo, Eritrea, Syria, Yemen and Libya. 
 
It said that financial corruption in Egypt is “extremely” high, as parliament does not know anything about the defense budget or the expenses of the military establishment, and that even the new constitutions that were crafted after the revolution kept the status quo due to a complicity on the part of the regime with the army.
 
The report continued to say that the Egyptian army runs businesses that control 10 percent to 40 percent of the economy, and that the profits it makes are considered national secrets that are not to appear in the capital market.
 
Zero political will 
 
Only the people suffer from the negative impact of corruption and the lack of transparency, as it increases the deficit in the state budget, the inflation rate and the cost of services needed by citizens, the report said.
 
Ministers so far have not tried to enact legislation to counter corruption. They have sufficed with blaming the previous regimes, though they exercised the same policies of Mubarak and Morsy.
 
The leftist minister of manpower in the government of Beblawy, Kamal Abu Eita, said the Muslim Brotherhood completely failed on all fronts, contending that it sought to privatize public sector companies for the benefit of certain members of the group. “This is why we came no. 114 on the index,” he said.
 
Yet the “revolutionary” minister did not mention the government he is part of has not yet put forth any initiatives to prevent the spread of corruption. Instead, it sought to pass the “Good Faith” law that protects officials when signing settlement agreements, and assigned projects worth billions of pounds to the military establishment. All of this took place within six months only, not a year under the Brotherhood or 30 years under Mubarak.
 
The only solution is transparency within the state institution, control of officials taking decisions, and monitorization of public spending to be for the sole benefit of the majority of the people and the poor.