Corruption is among the most profound challenges faced by governments all over the world. It can reduce public confidence in government and public institutions and weaken economies. Advances in technology can help combat corruption and promote transparency do government organizations worldwide. In this 21st century, technology can do wonders and there’s no reason to believe that technology can not help fight corruption. Various technological innovations are being used to induce anti-corruption methods for the convenience of citizens as information such as assets, transactions, and procurement is now easier to access. Technological innovation has the potential to tackle many deceptive issues such as fraud and bribery which are prevailing in the society.
Here are a few ways government can use technology and ICT that can contribute to identify and reduce corruption and bribery.
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Tax Automation :
It can reduce the opportunities for corruption in discretionary practices in tax collection. Automated tax administration systems can help move the hidden taxpayer information to be recorded electronically and being accessed by those who need it. Automation is playing a significant contribution to reducing discretionary practices in tax collection. This will help decrease chances for corruption, develop public trust in the tax system, and boost revenue collection.
Transparency is increasingly regarded as central to preventing corruption which can help reduce the room for discretion. Transparency can be used as a key tool by governments to promote the anti-corruption agenda through innovative methods and technology for corruption detection, analysis, and prevention. Many governments worldwide are paving their ways towards open data to not only make processes and agreements more transparent and open to access but also to diminish the reputational risk for the government.
Digitalization of Money:
Physical methods of money transfer and payments such as government salaries, health payments, pensions, and financial support for families are not considered to be safe methods of transfer. They are often difficult to trace and considered inefficient methods of payment. For this reason, digitalism and technological innovation allow governments to transfer payments through secure, transparent, and convenient digital channels. An example could be “BlockChain”, the latest addition to revolutionary digital methods of money transfer which uses the mining concept to record the safe transfer of money. This has reduced great opportunities for corruption and fraud as money can be traced easily. Numerous software tools are being designed for combating and reducing risks of financial theft and fraud globally.
Technology can help detect and catch fraud by not only transparency but also when reported to complaint channels that can lead to concrete action and help punish violations. It can be used by government officials, citizens, and civil society to raise awareness about the issue of corruption and fraud of they find any. They can also report any abuses or any other unethical acts of bribery.
Mobile applications are being used in many countries to empower citizens and making information more accessible. It has a great role in fighting corruption as many applications and websites are being created and used by government organizations to detect and deter corruption such as “Integrity App” and many more. They operate electronically and immediately report issues of fraud and corruption.
These innovations of technology including tax automation, data mining, transparency tools, and online websites and applications have the potential to create unparalleled opportunities for anti-corruption. Public awareness through online webinars and other tools also play an important role. The ever-growing advancement in technology will surely one day ensure a corruption-free world.