RIGA - During the last two years, every fifth resident and entrepreneur has made unofficial payments, given gifts or used personal contacts to solve professional or everyday situations, according to a public opinion survey commissioned by the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau.
Although the public's attitude toward bribery is generally negative, the survey found that 21 percent of residents and 19 percent of entrepreneurs said they could give a bribe to a state or municipal official.
Both groups most often justify this by saying that they will have a feeling of security that the problem will be solved, while the person who accepts the bribe will be more willing to help them. Most of the surveyed entrepreneurs said that unclear and complicated regulatory procedures was the main reason as implementation of these procedures required the assistance of an official.
Residents usually use unofficial methods, most often personal connections, at healthcare institutions, to find employment at state or municipal institutions, and deal with real estate issues.
In turn, businessmen do so to settle construction-related issues, ensure participation in state or municipal public procurement, as well as obtain different permits and licenses.
Residents and entrepreneurs believe that corruption among officials is still widespread, although businessmen also believe that corruption has decreased in Latvia during the pasts four years.