FIGHTING CORRUPTION IN MONOPOLIZED ECONOMY: WILL GOVERNMENT PLAN WORK?
11:33 * 20.02.15
A monopolized economy in any state reflects correspondingly on the
state procurement system, making fight against corruption almost
impossible, an anti-corruption expert said, commenting on the Armenian
cabinet’s decision to set up an anti-corruption council.
Speaking to Tert.am, Artak Manukyan, a procurement monitoring expert
at Transparency International, said the procurement system in Armenia
does not potentially allow competitiveness to develop.
“It creates extra opportunities for commissioners, allowing them to
win bids. So we will thus later acquire the same products for prices
higher than envisaged by the budget,” the economist noted.
He explained that a regular consumer wishing to purchase brandy,
for example, normally spends less when acquiring it directly from
the seller or the firm than does the state when procuring the same
product from the citizen.
The cabinet’s decision envisages creating immediately three bodies
Under the cabinet decision, it is planned to create simultaneously
three bodies: an anti-corruption council, an expert commission and a
monitoring department adjunct to the Government’s staff. The council
will be headed by the prime minister and comprise representatives
from the cabinet (chief of government staff, ministers of justice
and finance), the prosecutor general (upon consent), members of the
parliamentary opposition (one from each faction upon consent), the
president of the Public Council (upon consent), one representative
from the Communities Association of Armenia (upon consent) and two
civil society representatives.
Its major responsibilities will include considering and approving
the anti-corruption strategies and proposing changes upon necessity.
Manukyan said he estimates the risks in Armenia’s state procurement
system to be above the average level.
He added that the system hasn’t practically changed over the past
years, with only the transparency increasing a little in 2013 (after
when per capita procurements became available onegov.am but the
website wasn’t updated last year).
Commenting on the initiative, economist Ashot Yeghiazaryan said he
first of all emphasizes the importance of eradicating monopolies. “The
decision-maker in question should not enjoy much freedom in the
decision-makign process. For that, we need a favorable external
atmosphere. As for the internal atmosphere, it too has to focus on
reducing the risks to a minimum,” he said.
The economist added that corruption risks normally emerge in sectors
that allow for willfulness in the decision-making.
Sociologist Aharon Adibekyan says their surveys reveal that the
population predominantly finds the judiciary, the police, local
government and health sectors to be the most corrupt.
Asked what solutions respondents normally offer, Adibekyan said demand
increasing salaries as a possible way to combat corruption.
“The African states liberated from colonialism developed after those
in power started getting normal salaries,” he said, stressing the
importance of a properly functioning governance.