Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Outsource licensing advised to cut graft

Apr 20. 2012
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The private-sector anti-graft watchdog yesterday urged the central government and the Bangkok administration to outsource licensing to improve efficiency and reduce corruption.

“The state agencies and the Bangkok administration should outsource some of their work to private firms. This should solve the problem of red tape and corruption,” Pramon Suthirvong, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Network, told a news conference.

One example is the complicated and time-consuming procedures for obtaining a construction or home-building permit in Bangkok. This difficulty has led developers to offer under-the-table money to officials to expedite the process, he said.

The solution could be a clear time frame for granting or rejecting a permit application.

Some state agencies have already subcontracted their work, such as the Foreign Ministry, which uses an outside company to issue passports, resulting in cost savings and efficient services.

The Thai Chamber of Commerce and the Federation of Thai Industries will soon list many official activities that could be performed by the private sector, Pramon said.

Sompol Kiatpaibool, chairman of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, said the Commerce Ministry could outsource inspection of measurement devices to companies or universities. Such devices are used by traders to weigh or otherwise quantify products such as food and fuel.

Universities abroad are often hired by government agencies to examine product quality and issue certificates guaranteeing product safety, he said.

The Anti-Corruption Network also demanded that the government disclose more information on projects designed to prevent future massive flooding. These projects have been granted a budget of Bt120 billion for the current fiscal year.

“Many people are interested in monitoring these projects, but the government does not provide details,” Pramon said.

The network has chosen September 6 every year as “Anti-Corruption Day”, when activities will be held to raise people’s awareness.

September 6 marks the day that Dusit Nontanakorn, former chairman of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, who initiated the anti-corruption campaign, died last year.

Saovanee Thairungroj, president of the University of the Thai Chamber of Commerce, said the anti-corruption campaign was bearing fruit, as more and more people and civil groups were joining the movement.

The Thai Corruption Perception Index in March was at 66.1, suggesting that graft is still a very serious issue, she said.

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