Today, we are becoming more and more aware of the problem of corruption in our country. In the past, we used to talk about how big and relevant this problem is for all of us and how much it affects our everyday life, but today we talk about quite different things.
Instead of the usual news about another civil servant apprehended for a corruption offense, we can see videos with famous people calling to fight corruption or see activists and public figures on the street also calling for saying “no” to corruption. We see on billboards and buses, in public places, schools, kindergartens and universities, a general call for active anti-corruption actions.
Our children in schools and universities are instilled with a sense of non-acceptance of corruption from an early age and adults receive their share of legal and anti-corruption education through lectures and seminars conducted by anti-corruption staff for people from all spheres of professional activity, from teachers and doctors to civil servants and officials.
A lot has changed. Our modern anti-corruption policy embraces the problem of corruption in all possible ways. Today, everyone can directly participate in this process and contribute to the eradication of this social evil. The Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Civil Service Affairs and Anti-Corruption creates various institutions designed to improve the activities of governmental bodies, introduce new ways and tools to combat corruption and increase public confidence in governmental bodies. Students, public organisations, business representatives, as well as scientists and artists are taking an active part in this work.
Much has been done already. Today, administrative barriers are being eradicated and procedures for managing state affairs and licensing are being simplified. Businesses are working jointly with the agency in this direction. Urgent issues related to developing entrepreneurial activity are being raised and tackled at various venues. Today, every businessperson is aware of the latest changes and innovations in the anti-corruption legislation. Moreover, every Kazakh citizen knows where to turn in case of corruption offenses. Even if he does not know, he will go out and see a banner with the necessary information, hear it on the radio or read it in a receipt for paying utility bills with an anti-corruption memo attached to it.
In addition, preventive actions are actively being taken. It is work on eradicating conditions that create corruption opportunities. Corruption risk analysis ensures the eradication of risk zones in all aspects of state institutions’ functioning, including the legal framework, as well as the organisational and managerial activities of the public and quasi-public sector. In his 2018 state-of-the-nation address to the people of Kazakhstan, President Nursultan Nazarbayev also emphasised the importance of continued preventive measures to combat corruption. According to the President, it is important today to digitise processes in governmental bodies, including their interaction with the population and businesses. This should result in citizens seeing how their appeals are handled and receiving high-quality answers on time. Kazakhstan’s modern anti-corruption policies also received a positive assessment in Transparency International’s rankings. In the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index 2017 published Feb. 22, Kazakhstan scored 31 points and ranked 122 out of 180 countries, thus improving its score by two points and nine positions compared to last year. This result is the highest since Kazakhstan’s first participation in the rankings (since 1999) and it allowed us to leave the category of the most corrupt countries.
There is still much to be done. Despite the fact that we can see many positive trends and changes in combating corruption, further hard work is needed to fully address the issue. This work’s effectiveness will depend not only on the governmental body responsible for anti-corruption measures, but on the whole society, the entire people of our country. There are no uninvolved sides and there should not be. The fight against corruption must be large-scale. This will result in each driver trying to observe traffic rules and thus preventing many traffic accidents. Public and private sector employees will confidently and honestly climb the career ladder, reaching unprecedented professionalism.
An honest entrepreneurial atmosphere will enhance market relations and provide quality products and services to the consumers. The strengthened image of our state as a country in which there is no place for corruption contributes to attracting foreign investment and creating new jobs. All of this starts from each of us. Every citizen’s goal should be to create a corruption free country.
The author is the Head of Department for Civil Service Affairs and Anticorruption of Karaganda region.