The Plight of DR Congo: Rampant Corruption in Public Treasury

The Plight of DR Congo: Rampant Corruption in Public Treasury The Plight of DR Congo: Rampant Corruption in Public Treasury
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi raises his hand as he is sworn into office during

The Democratic Republic of Congo is mired in a deep crisis caused by rampant corruption in its public treasury.

The Inspectorate General of Finance revealed massive fraud in the public payroll department which cost the state nearly USD $800 million a year. With 145,000 paid agents having incorrect, fictitious or fabricated registration numbers, as well as 40,000 agents paid without their name appearing on the declaratory lists from the services

The scope of the problem is immense. The monthly losses to the state have been calculated at nearly 149 billion francs (66.2 million dollars). This massive fraud makes up 12.4% of DRC’s total budget for 2023, estimated to be 16 billion dollars. As a result of the findings, the IGF has promised to transmit the list of 961 estate agents involved to the judicial authorities and deactivate some of the payrolls that demonstrate obvious irregularities.

It is evident that an epidemic of public corruption has been consuming the DRC’s resources and preventing the country from progressing. As a nation, the DRC has been plagued by conflict, with civil war, violence and human rights abuses occurring in recent years. Vital funds which could have been used for humanitarian aid, poverty alleviation and economic development interventions have been misused instead.

The Plight of DR Congo: Rampant Corruption in Public Treasury
Democratic Republic of Congo’s President Felix Tshisekedi made the fight against corruption a keystone of his 2019 election campaign.
Gallo Images/Lefty Shivambu

The DRC urgently needs to make fundamental changes to its public treasury practices, or risk further economic and humanitarian disasters. International organisations and nations need to step in to promote transparency, accountability and stability.

The implementation of Anti-Corruption policies and procedures would help in preventing such fraud from occurring in the future. Redesigning the salary structure and reforming organisations responsible for the payroll also have to be done. This would provide a safe and reasonable environment to prevent fraud, as well as make transparency in the public treasury a priority.

Despite having abundant natural reserves, poverty remains a major issue facing the country. With nearly two-thirds of its population living on less than $2.15 per day, the country continues to suffer from a wide-ranging economic crisis. With limited access to health care, housing, and basic survival necessities, approximately 100 million of its citizens still inhabit the poverty line.

This lack of economic vitality has major implications on the society and political state of the country. In Transparency International’s 2021 ranking, the country falls 169th out of 180 countries, hinting at the lack of governmental organisation and leadership. With millions of citizens living in poverty, it is hardly surprising that corruption scores remain high and citizens are neglected, with the country’s natural resources going to few.

The Plight of DR Congo: Rampant Corruption in Public Treasury
Congolese President Felix Tshisekedi raises his hand as he is sworn into office during

The country’s education system is also behind, with large disparities between rural and urban areas in terms of quality, access, and affordability. Additionally, with limited domestic industries, the country has few economic opportunities to escape poverty, with many citizens having to rely on low-wage jobs to support their families.

The lack of infrastructure and limited access to healthcare also hampers poverty alleviation. With limited access to capital and job opportunities, rural and low-income households are more likely to be affected by communicable diseases such as tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. This results in an increased cost of medical treatment, with those in poverty unable to afford any healthcare whatsoever.

Despite the country’s vast natural resources, poverty continues to haunt its citizens. To tackle this issue, the country needs to prioritise investment in education and job opportunities, capital investments, and improved healthcare systems, in order to improve the lives of its citizens. Until these initiatives are taken, the country will continue to suffer economically, socially, and politically.

The DRC is in dire need of reform to combat corruption and restore fiscal responsibility. The Government of the Congo must increase transparency and accountability in all aspects of its operations, including the public treasury. Furthermore, civil society organisations must be actively engaged in holding the government accountable for its actions. Only then will the DRC be able to break the cycle of corruption and mismanagement that has plagued its people for far too long.

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