Corruption: Urging Bhutanese to adopt a zero tolerance to corruption, Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay said the government embraces the challenge to climb seven ranks in Transparency International Corruption Perception index to 20 by 2020.

Bhutan ranked 27th out of 168 countries last year.

Addressing representatives of 23 countries at the 14th regional seminar of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Anti-Corruption initiative for Asia and Pacific on November 9, Prime Minister said that Bhutan has to work hard against the social menace.

His Majesty The King uses every opportunity, including the National Day and Parliament addresses, to warn the nation and the people about the risks of corruption and reminds young graduates about the need to remain ever vigilant to fight corruption.

Prime Minister said that Bhutan’s fight against corruption began a long time ago when the country abolished the self-imposed isolation.

His Majesty the Third King established an audit system in the country. His Majesty The Fourth King, by Royal Decree, established Royal Audit Authority and Anti-Corruption Commission as independent and autonomous agencies in 1985 and 2006 respectively.

“These efforts of our Kings have allowed Bhutan to be relatively uncorrupt and today rank an impressive 27th out of 168 countries in the Corruption Perception Index 2015,” Prime Minister said.

The countries ranked above Bhutan in the index are developed, have a long history of democracy and successful development spanning centuries.

“We could misuse democracy to enrich a few, empower the privileged, and thereby entrench corruption in the country,” Prime Minister said. “This is possible.”

He said that Bhutan being a small country with a small population, corruption could become deeply entrenched.

International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook ranks Bhutan’s GDP at 164 from 190 countries according to GDP.

Prime Minister said if corruption takes root in this country “it’ll be a one way street to abject poverty, inequality, and lawlessness.” He added that Bhutan has enabling environment to not just fight corruption but also to implement the government’s policy of zero tolerance and to eradicate it.

Anti-Corruption Commission’s chairperson, Kinley Yangzom, said that Bhutan has made good progress in the efforts against corruption.

Tshering Palden