Corruption continues to undermine public trust in government (WB Report)

November 11, 2022

TAP) - Corruption, one of the main triggers of the Revolution, continues to undermine public trust in government and is perceived as having become more widespread, the World Bank said in its Tunisia Systematic Country Diagnostic: 'Rebuilding trust and meeting aspirations for a more prosperous and inclusive Tunisia' released Thursday.

'A major step-change in corruption perceptions took place from 2009-2011, with an increase from 57 to 92 percent of the population agreeing that there is corruption in the government, with stabilisation thereafter.'

According to the report, 'this is consistent with a general trend in post-authoritarian countries that citizens expect political change to lead to a decline in corruption, yet also that greater openness and freedom of expression brings more news of corrupt practices to the public.'

'A number of anti-corruption initiatives were taken in the aftermath of the Revolution, ranging from the establishment of an anti-corruption agency (Instance nationale de lutte contre la corruption or «INLUCC») to the adoption of legislation on illegal enrichment and asset declarations (2018).

Yet, their impact has been limited, in part because of gaps and delays in implementation, underbudgeting, under-staffing, and the weak performance of the judiciary overall, which has undermined more effective sanctioning of corrupt public officials and businessmen by the courts.

'The perception that corruption has become more widespread since the Revolution is widely held among the general population and businesses.'

Data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey shows that the share of firms identifying corruption as a major constraint has increased from 36 to 56 percent between 2013 and 2020, exceeding the MENA average (43 percent).

This is compounded by 'an increase in the share of firms identifying the courts system as a major constraint (from 3.2 percent to 12.6 percent), which further undermines the rule of law. Corruption has also impacted elections: a widely publicised Court of Auditors (2020) report into the 2019 presidential and legislative elections highlighted multiple breaches of electoral law, including illegal financing.

The WB pointed out that these weak institutional responses to cases of corruption and infringements of electoral law have in turn helped to undermine public trust in the integrity of government and elections.


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