The capital lagging behind was attributed to over-centralization of policy and regulatory services-related decision-making capacities
The port city of Chittagong took over Dhaka in the Bangladesh Business Index report, topping four out of ten pillars, such as availability of regulatory information, access to infrastructure, trade competitiveness, and technology adoption.
The capital lagging behind was attributed to over-centralization of policy and regulatory services-related decision-making capacities, which resulted in discretionary and predatory behavior on the part of some regulators. These have particularly affected small and medium entities that cannot influence the regulators.
A report on the business environment of the country, based on local homegrown indexes, was published jointly by the Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry Dhaka (MCCI) and Policy Exchange Bangladesh (PEB) titled "Business Environment Index", released virtually on Thursday.
Dhaka did not top in any of the ten indicators, indicating significant challenges for doing business.
The findings strongly pointed towards taking advantage of Chittagong’s business environment to make it Bangladesh's commercial capital.
The potential was solidified by recent economic infrastructure plans in and around Chittagong including Mirsarai Special Economic Zone, Karnaphuli river tunnel, Bay container terminal, energy hub in Matarbari, and more, said Masrur Reaz, chairman and CEO.
Abul Kashem Khan, chairman of Business Initiative Leading Development (Build), said that local homegrown indexes are practiced across the world including China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.
"The region-wise spread is good and we need to continue such a well-balanced sample size, that would give us more insight on what we need to work on,” he also said.
The Bangladesh local business climate index seeks to capture contextual factors affecting businesses in Bangladesh, in the form of pillars which have been modified from existing global literature on business environment; to capture elements of the local business environment issues faced by businesses.
Nihad Kabir, President of MCCI delivered the keynote speech at the virtual event where Salman F Rahman participated as the chief guest.
According to the report, starting a wholesale and retail trade business in Bangladesh is most conducive, while starting a food and beverage business is the most difficult. In terms of acquiring land, the leather and tannery sector has easier access in contrast to the RMG sector, which faces the most difficulty.
Additionally, paying taxes is the easiest for the construction sector, while the food and beverage sector has the highest technology adoption.
Meanwhile, access to finance for the pharmaceuticals and chemical sector is easier than it is for the food and beverage sector.