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Ease of Doing Business: Bangladesh lowest in South Asia

  • Published at 04:44 pm November 1st, 2018

Among South Asian nations, Bangladesh stands lowest, with India ranking at 77, Bhutan 81, Sri Lanka 100, Nepal 110, Pakistan 136, Maldives 139, Afghanistan 167, with Myanmar at 171

Bangladesh needs more reforms to improve ease of doing business, says a World Bank report.
According to the World Bank (WB) Group’s report, “Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform” released on Wednesday, Bangladesh ranked 176th out of 190 countries for ease of doing business, up from a ranking of 177 last year.

Among South Asian nations, Bangladesh stands lowest, with India ranking at 77, Bhutan 81, Sri Lanka 100, Nepal 110, Pakistan 136, Maldives 139, Afghanistan 167, with Myanmar at 171. 

Out of 100, Bangladesh scored 41.94, which is 0.91%t higher than the previous year, the WB report said.

Bangladesh has seen improvement in providing electricity and ranked 179 from last year’s 185. For registering property it ranked at 183 from a previous 185, and its rank in paying taxes the country stands at 151 from last year's 152. Better performance in these areas has pushed Bangladesh up a notch this year, the report added.

On the other hand, Bangladesh’s ranking saw a downward trend on issues such as starting a business, getting credit, protecting minority investors, dealing with construction permits, and trading across borders. 

To improve its ranking, the World Bank recommended regulatory reforms to make doing business easier.

The marginal change in position indicates that the country has taken some initiatives to make doing business easier, but the pace of reforms needs to be increased significantly, said the report.

Bangladesh has continued to invest in the electricity grid over the past twelve months. As a result, the distribution utilities are now able to accommodate more connection requests, reducing the time required for businesses to obtain a new electricity connection from more than 400 days in 2014, to less than 150 days in 2018, said the report.

Since 2015, Bangladesh has increased the network capacity in Chittagong and Dhaka, it added. 

“These results from the Doing Business 2019 report are great news for South Asia and underscore the need to persist with challenging reforms that can provide more opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty and spread prosperity more widely,” said Hartwig Schafer, the World Bank’s Vice President for the South Asia Region .

“We’re looking forward to working with governments in the region to achieve more gains in coming years.”

“Bangladesh has taken an action plan to remove the barriers in doing business and to improve ease of doing business so that the rank comes down to 100 by 2021. The Action Plan is on track,” Zahid Hussain, lead economist of World Bank Dhaka, told the Dhaka Tribune.

In reaping the benefits, the government has to implement an action plan but it is not happening due to lack of institutional capacity, said Zahid.

If there is accountability and a time bound plan, and the government implements the plan effectively within the deadline, it would help to improve ranking, he added.  

“South Asia continues on a strong reform agenda, thanks to political commitment and hard work that is involved in improving the domestic investment climate. This is particularly commendable in the case of Afghanistan, where conflict and insecurity make the work so much more challenging,” said Rita Ramalho, Senior Manager of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.

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