Sri Lanka has been struggling to shake off a culture of corruption. The efforts made by government officials, committees and organisations to stem the flow of corrupt practices have been to an extent annulled by the landslide election of Mahinda Rajapaksa, who has brought to the island a more centralised rule, and legislative amendments which have in turn brought to attention concerns over lack of transparency in decision- and policy-making. Institutions set up by the government to fight corruption appear to have had some effect in recent years; however, issues persist, and the atmosphere remains insecure for those involved in the media: Sri Lanka rates very poorly in global rankings for press freedoms.
There are increasing calls for whistleblowing protections to be improved as there is currently very little protection for those who stand up against corruption, as illustrated by the recent killing of officials who have done so. In addition, petty corruption remains a problem, and public procurement is attributed as being one of the sectors where corruption is most prevalent: almost one-fifth of companies state that they expect to pay some kind of unofficial payment when securing government contracts. This fact, coupled with cumbersome bureaucracy and unpredictable government policy, render Sri Lanka at times a challenging place to do business. Facilitation payments are allegedly common and a way of getting jobs done. Public servants and ministry officials are often bribed.
Detailed descriptions of the levels of corruption in a number of sectors are outlined in the profile's Corruption Levels. For a more detailed analysis of the Sri Lankan government, media and civil society's anti-corruption activities, visit Public Anti-Corruption Initiatives and Private Anti-Corruption Initiatives.