Bribery along the corridor

November 26, 2012 — Leave a comment

Notwithstanding efforts to minimize collusion, bribery and corruption through increased use of technology, the underlying fact remains that human intervention cannot be completely removed from nodes within the supply chain.Identifying the causes and parties involved in such activity is only the start (yet minuscule) aspect of a problem entrenched in the distrust of government officials and border authorities in particular. Integrity is based on trust. If trust is the placement of hordes of incompetence in public jobs to secure votes, then you will not need to look very far to understand that “the bribe” epitomizes the ultimate enterprise of individuals either bent on extortion, or to avail their services (like prostitutes  to the crooked trader. The following article “Bribery as a non-tariff barrier to trade” (click hyperlink to download) takes account of a wide-spread of role players as to their views and attitudes on the matter. In my view it is a template for what actually occurs at every border across the continent. 

Transparency International (Kenya) and Trade Mark (East Africa) have collaborated in the publication of a review on the subject of bribery in the EAC region. The executive summary elucidates the context – 

The East African Common Market Protocol that came into force in 2010 provides for the free flow of goods, labour, services and capital across the EAC bloc. To achieve this, members undertook to remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade. While progress has been made on the removal of the former, doing away with the Non-tariff barriers along the main transport corridors of the region has remained a challenge.

Taking cognizance of this, Transparency International-Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi in conjunction with the Transparency Forum in Tanzania conducted a survey along EAC‘s main corridors — the Northern and Central corridors- that form a vital trade link in the region between August and November 2011. The survey objectives were to measure the impact of bribery practices and create public awareness on the vice.

In determining the size of bribe payable, negotiations came top. The value of consignment and the urgency were some of the other factors sighted by the respondents. According to the survey, truck drivers have devised various means of accounting for bribery expenses to their employers. The most common is road trip expense’. These are anticipated regular amounts given prior to the start of a journey and ad hoc miscellaneous expenses. In the transporters’ books of accounts, the bribes are normally disguised either as anticipated regular amounts or as ad hoc miscellaneous expenses. Source: Transparency International and Trade Mark

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