Perceived levels of corruption in Vietnam's public sector have improved for the first time in five years thanks to the country’s on-going anti-corruption efforts.
Transparency International (TI) released its Corruption Perceptions Index 2016 on Wednesday, ranking Vietnam at 113 out of 176 countries and territories based on perceptions of experts and business people.
On a scale of 0 for highly corrupt and 100 for very clean, Vietnam’s score went from 31 in 2012 to 33 in 2016.
Its ranking also improved from 123rd out of 176 countries in 2012 to 112th out of 168 countries in 2015.
Towards Transparency, the national arm of TI in Vietnam, said in a statement that the improvement, although modest, “is a reward for the on-going anti-corruption efforts of the State and the society of Vietnam”.
The country has made “positive steps” in improving legal frameworks and policies on anti-corruption, it said, including passing the Law on Access to Information and revising the Law on Anti-Corruption 10 years after they were originally issued.
It also hailed the Vietnamese government’s efforts to ensure the implementation of international free trade agreements it has signed.
However, it said scoring 33/100 does not mean a real break-through and Vietnam still remains in the group of countries where corruption is considered “serious”.
Vietnam ranks below all of its Southeast Asian neighbors, except for Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar.
Toward Transparency urged the government to strictly punish any cases of corruption without impunity, and increase the integrity of the judiciary system.
It also advised businesses to apply moral standards and support anti-corruption initiatives in the private sector, while the public and media should play active roles in building anti-corruption regulations and reporting corrupt actions.
CPI 2016 does not paint a beautiful picture across the world. More than two-thirds of the 176 countries and territories surveyed fell below the midpoint of the scale, putting the global average score at 43.
“In too many countries, people are deprived of their most basic needs and go to bed hungry every night because of corruption, while the powerful and corrupt enjoy lavish lifestyles with impunity,” José Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, said in a statement.
Singapore is the only Asian country in the top 10, which is mostly occupied by European countries as well as New Zealand and Canada. African countries prop up the list's bottom.