Corruption: minister’s take

One of President Xi Jinping’s first acts after taking office was to launch a massive crackdown on corruption that has seen several high and low ranking party leaders punished

However, the aggressive prosecution does not mean that corruption has disappeared

Also, some China watchers say the crackdown actually hindered economic growth for a short while

This is because, even though government corruption is used as a catch-all term, there are several types, from bribes to embezzlement and illegal approvals to straight-up influence peddling

Chinese corruption was often what could be called a facilitation fee — bribing government officials to cut red tape to get approvals done quicker than normal for otherwise beneficial projects

In economic terms, this can be considered a cost escalation which most revenue-generating projects can easily absorb

Cost escalation would also occur due to inflation if project approval were delayed

Since the projects were often good, the government did not stop them, even if corruption was found in the approval

Conversely, hurling baseless corruption accusations on bureaucrats and politicians who approved projects that failed due to unforeseen reasons, rather than any illegality, can make them hesitant to approve above-board spending if they seem even a bit risky

What really holds countries back is poor planning and frequent policy reversals — when new governments abandon or underfund their predecessors’ infrastructure and development projects for political reasons rather than on any economic basis

This does not happen in China, which has one-party rule, or even in several democracies known for having problematic corruption levels

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal made similar comments recently, noting that “many countries in the world have developed despite similar corruption as ours, but you can’t point out a single country that has progressed despite political instability and discontinuity of policy

” This also ties into PM Shehbaz ‘s desire for a Charter of the Economy, so that all parties agree on a long-term framework to ensure that there is continuity, and good ideas actually get a chance to bloom, whoever is in power

Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2022

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Date:23-Jun-2022 Reference:View Original Link