Do e-government and digital technologies really help to prevent corruption?
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 at 8:28AM
Gemma Aiolfi in Basel Institute on Governance, Estonia, Georgia, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritius, Rawanda, Uganda, e-government

E-government to business (G2B) such as e-procurement, e-tax filing and e-sourcing are often cited as being useful to reduce interface between companies and government officials and thus the scope for discretionary decisions, thereby diminishing the opportunities for bribery.

But what do companies have to say and how do they rate their experiences with respect to e-tools? Do businesses take them into consideration in country corruption risk assessments or when entering a new market? Have they reduced the incidence of bribery solicitation?

The Basel Institute on Governance is conducting a survey to obtain views and experiences from companies of e-government tools and their utility in preventing and reducing corruption. The short, anonymous survey is here.

The survey provides an opportunity to give your company’s perspective and would help identify what’s working well and what is not. As the results from the study will be made available publicly you will directly benefit from participating in the survey.

A wide range of people and functions in a company - procurement managers, compliance, controllers, customs managers -- are likely to have used such tools. We would hope to hear their views because governments have implemented them in diverse ways and with different rationales:

Some countries, such as Georgia and Estonia, are going all-out for e-government, while others focus on specific areas such as online single-window customs clearance. The development of blockchain technology to provide anti-corruption solutions through secure data ledgers appears increasingly possible and offers potential solutions for issues such as land title registration.

Some countries are already experimenting with the technology, such as Ghana and Mauritius; perhaps there are models for other countries to develop similar approaches.

Some e-government tools are implemented for economic reasons or to reduce bureaucracy, but they may still be relevant when it comes to having an impact on bribery. The recently launched East African Regional Electronic Cargo Tracking System (RECTS) provides an example.

Established by the Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda customs authorities to facilitate trade, the system monitors lorries in real-time travelling between the three countries, with the goal of increasing efficiency, reducing journey times and ensuring correct taxation. The risks of private detours and tampering or stealing freight not only prolong the journey and increase costs, but also provide opportunities for corruption, the RECT system is expected to address these risks and at the same time also help to reduce demands for bribe along the route.

Help us make this study valuable for everyone concerned, for which we need your cooperation and your participation in the survey. Results will be announced on the FCPA blog again. Thanks for taking a few minutes to respond to the questions.

Again, our survey is here.

The Basel Institute project is funded by GSK and supported by Deloitte.

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Gemma Aiolfi is the Head of Corporate Governance, Compliance and Collective Action at the Basel Institute on Governance. She can be contacted here.

Article originally appeared on The FCPA Blog (http://www.fcpablog.com/).
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