IMF champions drive against Corruption

While progress has been made in the two years since the International Monetary Fund (IMF) stepped up its efforts to tackle corruption and ensure critical funds reach the people who need them most, more work needs to be done to ensure lasting change at the national, regional and global levels.

The scale of the crisis raises the risks and dangers of the theft of public money that should be used to save lives and rebuild livelihoods.Delia Ferreira RubioChair, Transparency International.

Drive intensifies during Covid-19

Hot on the heels of this newspaper’s own “Enough is Enough” drive against Corruption. IMF is urging Governments to resist the temptation of cutting Social Protection, but cutting Corruption instead.

The Covid pandemic has exposed the heavy price of inequality and even threatens to make it was worse.Given the ensuing greater job fragility, loss of jobs, has meant that poor and low-income families have been hit much harder with deaths and job losses due to the virus than wealthier households.

The IMF has found itself at the heart of the global economic recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. More than US$9 trillion is being committed to the recovery, including up to US$1 trillion from the IMF.

With such large sums and so many lives at stake, it’s more important now than ever for the IMF to ensure that emergency funds aren’t lost to corruption and that corruption doesn’t cost any additional lives.

It is over two years since the IMF sent the world a clear signal of its ambition to play a leading role in the fight against Corruption.Through the adoption and high-profile launch of a framework for “enhanced” engagement with its member countries on Governance issues, the IMF committed to increase its dedication to anti-corruption through various channels, including through its yearly assessments and reports.

The Fund committed to tackling Corruption “systematically, effectively, candidly and in a manner that respects uniformity of treatment” in its country reviews.

The Fund’s swift response to Covid-19 has further increased attention to its anti-corruption drive.

Research has shown that corruption drives this inequality by depleting government funds for social programmes, and creating opportunities for the transfer of precious public resources into the pockets of the connected elite. While tackling corruption is most urgent during economic crises, research has shown that crises can make corruption worse while diminishing attention to it.

Officials are more likely to demand bribes, and emergency spending can be ripe for abuse while oversight mechanisms are distracted, overwhelmed or sidelined.