In Southeast Asia, as everywhere else, Covid-19 has fundamentally disrupted business as usual. A damaging side-effect of the pandemic on companies in the region, especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), is the emergence of new corruption risks – the urgent demands of emergency procurement have lowered the bar on transparency and oversight, bringing in their wake new opportunities for corruption. This has been especially evident in the health sector.
Few companies have remained untouched. In a recent survey of 229 ASEAN companies conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), with support from the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), 58% of respondents felt that risks had increased because of the crisis, with corruption the most frequently cited concern.
KANNI WIGNARAJA And JEFFREY SCHLAGENHAUF