Bangladesh’s global ranking has slipped in ease of doing business, standing at 173rd position among 189 nations as the country’s performance deteriorated on indicators, including starting business, paying taxes and enforcing contract where it was near the rock bottom.
According to the Doing Business Report 2014 – the flagship report of the World Bank and International Finance Corporation, out of 10 indicators, Bangladesh slipped on six, remained unchanged in three and one moved up.
For the first time, the World Bank has considered two major cities – Dhaka and Chittagong – while ranking Bangladesh like other countries that have population of more than 100m.
The fall in Bangladesh ranking from the last year’s 170th position is mainly because other nations performed much better and six new countries has been added this year, the bank officials said.
International investors make investment decisions after reviewing a country’s position on the Doing Business Index.
The report painted the gloomy picture at a time when Bangladesh is making desperate efforts to attract foreign investment to boost economy.
The deterioration in six out of 10 indicators and poor performance in the remaining ones portrays the challenges Bangladesh might face in attracting foreign investment, which was $1.29bn in the last year.
“The country slipped three notches due to inclusion of more countries that have done better than Bangladesh,” Zahid Hussain, WB lead economist in Dhaka, told the Dhaka Tribune.
“However, that does not mean Bangladesh did not improve,” he said.
But the bad news is that Bangladesh performed worst in three indicators – property registration, getting electricity connection and enforcing contract – which is more important to attract overseas investment.
He said though electricity production has increased in the country, the complexity is still on as entrepreneurs feel uncertainty about getting power connection after application.
On getting electricity connection indicator, Bangladesh stood 188th position, just one notch up last year’s ranking.
In getting credit indicator, the country stood at 31th position, which is the worst performance compared to any other country, also six notches below last year’s level.
On the indicator of enforcing contracts, though this indicator remained unchanged but the country performed poorly and ranked 188th. Bangladesh ranked 184th, one place below last year’s level.
Bangladesh made trading across borders easier by introducing a fully automated and computerised customs data management system, helping the country to remain unchanged this index. This reform that applies to both Chittagong and Dhaka has placed the country.
The country also slipped on the index of starting a business, standing at 115th place compared to 111th rank last year. On average, 19.5 days were needed to complete about a dozen procedural requirements.
However, out of 189 countries, only eight economies including Bangladesh have successfully reduced the time to export and import by implementing computerised systems that allow web-based submission of documents.
World Bank Chief Economist Kaushik Basu admitted: “An economy can do poorly on ‘Doing Business’ indicators but do well in macroeconomic policy or social welfare interventions.”
Doing Business, measures a slender segment of the complex organism that any modern economy is, he added at the release of the rankings.
Singapore occupied the top position in the ease of doing business followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, Denmark and South Korea respectively. China ranked 90th and USA 7th.
-The Dhaka Tribune.