The percentage of business who think that ‘corruption in public procurement is widespread’ has increased by 13 points since October 2015.
This emerges from a survey conducted among 150 Maltese businesses conducted by Misco in October. The results of the survey have been published in a report on businesses’ attitudes towards corruption issued by the European Commission.
Presently 69% of businesses think that this kind of corruption is widespread. The perception is stronger in Malta than in 20 other EU countries. Only seven other EU countries surpass Malta when it comes to the perception that public procurement is rigged.
Malta also registered the greatest increase in the percentage of businesses who think that corruption is widespread in public procurement.
While in Ireland (-20 pp) and Slovenia (-22 pp), this figure has decreased substantially, significant increases were registered in Croatia (+11 pp) and Malta (+13 pp).
The percentage of businesses who have not participated in public procurement because “the deal seemed to be done before the call for tender” has also increased by 12 percentage points in Malta since October 2015.
In total 16% of Maltese businesses who did not participate in tenders gave this reason now compared to only 2% two years ago. A further 14% compared to 12% two years ago believe that the criteria are tailor made for a particular bidder.
A further 8% were under the impression that collusive bidding would take place, an increase of seven points over two years ago.
Ireland (-20 pp) has also seen a significant decrease in the proportion of companies that say they did not participate because the deal seemed to be done before the call to tender, and this proportion has also declined by a large margin in Belgium (-13 pp). On the other hand, the proportion of respondents giving this answer has risen by 12% in Malta, and 10% in Spain.
57% of Maltese businesses also think that funding political parties in exchange for public contracts or influence over policy making is widespread. As in 2015, companies in Sweden (14%) and Luxembourg (10%) are the least likely to say this practice is widespread.
Since 2015 the percentage of businesses who regard corruption as a problem has increased by 14 percentage points in Malta.
Malta was one of four countries where the proportion of businesses which see this as a problem has increased by more than 10 percentage points: these are Romania (+11 pp), Cyprus (+13 pp), Malta (+14 pp) and Hungary (+15 pp).