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Corruption under the microscope at G20 conference

Article - March 11, 2015

Corruption ultimately causes companies to lose their competitiveness and efficiency, according to Business-20 (B20) Turkey Chairman Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu. 

Speaking at the annual High-Level Conference on Anti-Corruption in Istanbul on March 6th, Mr Rifat Hisarcıklıoğlu said bribery is not profitable for businesses in the long run.

Mr Hisarcıklıoğlu was one of the keynote speakers at the event jointly organised by Turkey’s G20 Presidency and the Organisation of Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD).

With Turkey’s G20 Presidency being guided by the principles of inclusiveness, implementation and investment, the fight against corruption is vital for ensuring all businesses, from SMEs to MNEs, can operate on a level playing field as they play their part in increasing global growth and investment.

Representatives from business, civil society and public institutions came together at the conference for discussions based around the theme “Placing Integrity at the Heart of Business Culture”.   

Panellists and speakers included Turkey’s G20 Sherpa Ayşe Sinirlioğlu, Koç Holding CEO Osman Turgay Durak, Sabanci Holding CEO Zafer Kurtul, Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil, OECD Chief of Staff Gabriela Ramos and Turkey’s B20 Chairman Sarp Kalkan. The resultant dialogue will assist in the implementation of the 2015-2016 G20 Anti-Corruption Action Plan.

According to this plan adopted in Australia last year, corruption destroys public trust, undermines the rule of law, skews competition, impedes cross-border investment and trade, and distorts resource allocation. As a group of the world’s largest economies, the G20 remains committed to reducing the incidence of corruption and building a global culture of intolerance towards corruption.

“Global solutions for global problems can only come through the G20,” said Mr Hisarcıklıoğlu.

The 2015-2016 action plan notes that the annual cost of bribery alone is estimated by the World Bank to be USD$1 trillion, with the burden falling disproportionately on the billion people living in extreme poverty.

Helping to alleviate the burden of corruption on developing economies is in line with the global dimensions of the Turkish G20 Presidency’s principle of inclusiveness. Turkey’s political leaders have repeatedly vowed to consider and involve developing countries more in G20 discussions and decisions.

“We cannot make distinctions between G20 countries and non-G20 countries as we know the decisions made by the G20 will have an impact on everyone,” said Mr Hisarcıklıoğlu.

The B20, which represents the business communities of member states, has its own anti-corruption task force which will formulate recommendations to be tabled to the G20.

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) timed the release of the Turkish translation of its Rules on Combating Corruption to coincide with the high-level conference on March 6th.

"The fight against corruption is central to Turkey's G20 Presidency agenda of 'inclusiveness, implementation and investment'. Our view is that all businesses – from the smallest to the largest – have a part to play in combating a problem that currently costs the global economy up to US$2 trillion each year. The ICC Rules are an essential tool to promote sound business practices the world over," said ICC Secretary General John Danilovich.