Surveys - Attitudes of Serbian citizens towards corruption: Survey 2013

Attitudes of Serbian citizens towards corruption: Survey 2013

The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in cooperation with CeSID LtD, presented the Eighth Corruption Benchmarking Survey at today’s press conference in the Media Centre Belgrade.

This research cycle confirmed the optimism and a conviction of citizens that the authorities intend to curb corruption. However, the living standard, unemployment and poverty have again diverted attention of citizens away from corruption. Corruption fell third on the list of the most important problems which citizens face.

The largest number of citizens claim that they themselves offered bribes. Given that the citizens are against bribes, the question is are they against solicited, or unsolicited bribes which they themselves offer to achieve something quicker? asked Marko Blagojević, CeSID Programme Director, who underlined also that the overall perception of corruption within institutions has risen.

In spite of the fact that there is now less direct and indirect solicitation of bribes, trust in institutions is either stagnating or dropping. The overall impression is that the citizens still await the results of the fight against corruption.

Citizens are very well aware that corruption is not only bribing with money, but also abuse of office and trade in influence, said Prof. Zoran Stojiljković, Member of the Board of the Anticorruption Agency. “We must invest maximum efforts to persuade the citizens that corruption does not pay off”, he added.

The lowest ever number of citizens paid bribes in September, October and November 2013. More than one half of those who did pay, have done so without solicitation. However, the numbers of citizens who claim that they would not pay a solicited bribe and those who would report such solicitation did not change significantly. These results testify to the need to encourage and resolutely protect whistle-blowers, as the most efficient means of fighting corruption.

Citizens will acknowledge success in the fight against corruption in the healthcare when they do not have to pay bribes anymore. For this to happen, the authorities need to continue to pursue a policy of zero tolerance to corruption, said Irena Vojáčková – Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative.

The greatest number of respondents continues to have faith in the willingness of the Government of Serbia to fight corruption efficiently. A large number of people confirm its efficiency.

In cooperation with the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Serbia, UNDP has published the results of the perception of corruption in the health sector. More than two fifths of respondents consider that the corruption in the health sector is present very much and 27 per cent that it is present a lot. Almost one half of bribes given in the last three months were given to doctors. The more complex the medical problem is, the greater the likelihood of corruption. However, a gap between personal and experience of friends and relatives is visible in this sector: more people have heard about bribing doctors and nurses from friends and relatives, than from personal experience.

“Last year the Ministry has centralized certain public procurements, and proposed abolishing of additional work of doctors in institutions where they normally work and reinstating of the competitive hiring processes. We are also planning a centralized IT system for a unified, nation-wide waiting list for treatment,” said Slavica Đukić Dejanović, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Serbia. She added that the Ministry has joined in support of the NGO efforts to curb corruption – the SMS service 061 24 444 24 for fighting corruption. “I think that the Advisors on Patients’ Rights, in the segment of the fight against corruption should be used to provide advice to citizens”, she concluded.

Finally, highly encouraging results show that there is an increasing awareness of citizens that a holistic approach is necessary to fight corruption. For the largest number of respondents, increasing anticorruption awareness in the society, strengthening of the civil sector and control over public administration should go hand in hand with harsh punishment and legislative improvements.

Prof. Slavica Đukić Dejanović, the Minister of Health of the Republic of Serbia, Irena Vojáčková – Sollorano, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Prof. Zoran Stojiljković, Member of the Board of the Anticorruption Agency and Marko Blagojević, CeSID Programme Director presented the Survey at the press conference.

The Corruption Benchmarking Survey is inspired by the methodology of the Global Barometer of the Transparency International as well as with similar researches conducted throughout the world. It is adapted to the Serbian context and, since 2009 offers scientific data on the incidence and perception of corruption in Serbia, thus providing information on trends and patterns of corruption.

UNDP Serbia              February 12, 2014