Singapore Sets The Bar On Transparency

Singapore Business

Singapore has emerged as the lest corrupt nation in the world, sharing the top spot with New Zealand and Denmark in the latest Corruptions Perceptions Index.

Singapore has emerged as the lest corrupt nation in the world, sharing the top spot with New Zealand and Denmark in the latest Corruptions Perceptions Index.

Corruption watchdog Transparency International has released its ‘2010 Corruptions Perceptions Index’ revealing the degree to which public sector corruption is perceived to exist in 178 countries world-wide. Countries are ranked on a scale from 0-10, 10 indicating the least corruption. With an impressive score of 9.3, Singapore, New Zealand and Denmark are the least corrupt trio closely followed by Finland and Sweden. Australia reigned in the eight spot, Hong Kong was accorded the thirteenth rank, UK was ranked #20 while US was #22. According to the Index, three-quarters of the 178 countries scored below 5 on its 0-10 scale, indicating the widespread existence of corruption.

Singapore’s ranking as the least corrupt nation in the world is yet another feather in its cap and bears testimony to why it is consistently ranked as the world’s easiest place to do business. Singapore company incorporation is becoming a preferred route for many a foreign entrepreneur and company simply because it offers the best environment for business start-up and expansion. No one wants to establish a business in a country where they run the risk of being entangled in red-tape, bureaucracy, or corrupt practices. There are very few countries in the world where you don’t have to enter into “under-the-table” dealings and Singapore is one of them. Earlier this year, the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy ranked Singapore as the lest corrupt nation in Asia-Pacific.

Although many countries attempt to fight corruption very few have achieved success as Singapore has. So what’s the success formula behind Singapore’s clean public sector? Firstly, Singapore enforces anti-corruption laws very strictly and any corrupt officials are dealt with severely. The Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau (CPIB) was setup in 1952 and the Prevention of Corruption Act was enacted in 1960 to check corrupt practices in Singapore’s public and private sectors. The CPIB comes under the direct supervision of the Prime Minister’s Office. A person who is convicted of a corruption offence in Singapore can be fined up to S$100,000 or sentenced to imprisonment of up to five years or both.

Secondly, any temptation to indulge in corruption by public sector officials was removed by introducing high salaries and fringe benefits that were competitive with the private sector. According to a recent report by The Economist, Singapore’s Prime Minister is paid more than 40 times the city-state s GDP per person. The salaries of ministers and top government officials is said to be pegged to the salaries of top earners in the private sector. It is believed that ministers are to be paid two-thirds of the median of the top eight earners in each of six professions: accounting, law, banking, engineering, multinational companies and local manufacturing. A high pay removes the incentive for corruption.

A final factor that contributes to Singapore’s squeaky clean image is that it has virtually removed all red-tape that usually provides opportunity for corruption.

Here is an excerpt from Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew’s autobiography From Third World to First:The Singapore Story,

“When we took office in 1959 we set out to have a clean administration. We were sickened by the greed, corruption and decadence of many Asian leaders. Fighters for freedom for their
people have become plunderers of their wealth. Their societies slipped backwards. We made sure from the day we took office, that every dollar in revenue would be properly accounted for and would reach the beneficiaries at the grassroots as one dollar, without being siphoned off along the way.”

A corrupt-free environment has played a crucial role in shaping Singapore’s success as the most competitive economy, the best business destination and a top trading nation.

Watch the results of the Corruptions Perceptions Index 2010 here.

Interested in doing business in Singapore? Learn more about Singapore Incorporation.