Uganda: National Corruption Survey, 1998

Uganda’s first national integrity survey, commissioned by the Inspectorate of Government, was designed to collect information about public experience and perceptions of corruption in public services. Some 94,000 people in 18,000 households from all districts in Uganda were interviewed, together with 1,600 service workers and 180 key informants. There were also 348 focus group discussions conducted. Households gave information about contacts with health, education, police, local administration, judiciary and tax services. The services where bribery were most common were the police and judiciary, with two thirds of users paying a bribe to the workers in the police and half of users paying a bribe to workers in the judiciary services. Health services had less bribery (although still more than a quarter of contacts involved a bribe) and the average amounts paid were less (12,000/= vs 50,000/= for police and 100,000/= for judiciary).
For nearly half of the children in primary school, parents were paying for extra tuition and for one in ten they were making extra payments directly to the teachers. Nearly half the service workers interviewed thought that gifts from private companies to public sector employees were quite all right, and nearly half thought that people reporting corruption were likely to suffer for it. A striking finding was that service users who paid bribes did not get better service than those who did not. On the contrary, they took longer to have their business completed, saw more staff and paid more visits to the service. Reduction of service bureaucracy so as to reduce the number of visits and the number of staff seen is one action that could reduce the risk of paying bribes. Another is the provision of information to service users about how to use the services, since people given such information were found to be less likely to pay bribes. Other possible areas to tackle include: the perceptions of service workers; the belief (sometimes well founded) that people who report corruption are likely to suffer for it; the difference in perception of levels of corruption between service workers and service users; the lack of awareness in most households of the Inspectorate of Government and its role.
The survey was supported financially by UNDP, DANIDA and EDI of the World Bank. The Institute of Statistics and Applied Economics at Makerere University collaborated with CIET in data collection and data entry, as did personnel from UNICEF Uganda and the office of the Inspectorate of Government. Findings of the survey were discussed at national and local workshops and contributed to the development of integrity action plans.