Corruption has prevented an annual addition of at least Tk 180 billion to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), shows a conservative official estimate.
If the current value of the annual output is taken into account, this sum will stand at about Tk 350 billion.
The chairman of the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) Iqbal Mahmud revealed this in a letter to the cabinet division secretary Shafiul Alam.
The division then on 28 December last year sent letters to all secretaries, asking them to step up measures against corruption. On last Tuesday the cabinet division reminded the secretaries of this once again.
"It's an established fact that corruption is the main obstacle to national development," the ACC chief’s letter said
The Bangladesh GDP would go up by 2 per cent if corruption could be stemmed, show research findings which have been confirmed by local and foreign organisations.
The ACC chairman called for effective measures to curtail corruption in the sectors of government procurement, appointment of manpower and project implementation. He said that the ACC was eager to extend its sincere cooperation if the ministries, divisions and agencies took initiative against corruption.
At a meeting with Local Consultative Group (LCG), a platform of Bangladesh's development partners in Dhaka, in July 2015, finance minister AMA Muhith said 2-3 per cent of the GDP was eroded due to corruption. He gave the same figure while presenting the draft of the seventh five-year plan.
However, according to Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB), corruption in the sectors of health, education, police and judiciary, equals 2.5 per cent of the GDP. And the corruption involved in large government procurements amounts to 3 per cent of the GDP.
So all together, corruption eats up about 5 per cent of the GDP.
TIB views the ACC and cabinet division letters positively. TIB executive director Iftekharuzzaman on Thursday told reporters, “Corruption exceeds 2 per cent of the GDP. No matter what this amount may be, we welcome this initiative by ACC and the cabinet division.”
Iftekharuzzaman said that the initiative would strengthen the monitoring of corruption, but there was also need for regular evaluation to assess any decrease in corruption. "There must be a system to assess whether the corruption has decreased or increased," he said.