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For a more competitive Bangladesh

  • Published at 06:00 pm October 3rd, 2016
  • Last updated at 08:37 am October 27th, 2016
For a more competitive Bangladesh

Bangladesh has placed 106th out of 138 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index published by the World Economic Forum.

Such a performance is woeful, and only a very slight improvement over last year.

While the methodology behind such rankings is never beyond reproach, some of the findings about Bangladesh cannot be denied. It is clear that the two main factors holding us back are corruption and inadequate infrastructure.

Problems with governance and deterioration of the financial sector are also hurting our competitiveness with respect to the rest of the world. While neighbouring India has zoomed up to the 39th spot, Bangladesh languishes in all key indicators.

We need to do better.

It would help to learn from the practices of countries that have been ranked most competitive in the world -- Switzerland, Singapore, and the United States.

All of these countries have properly functioning institutions, comprehensive infrastructure, accessible health care, a well-developed education system, and a stable macroeconomic framework.

A lack of proper road transportation infrastructure, for example, has caused a myriad of problems for Bangladesh, including hiking up supply costs for businesses.

The planned expansion of our railway network and plans to build more land and sea ports, if implemented properly, would increase competitiveness, as would the construction of better roads and highways.

Crucially, we need to bring down all kinds of institutional barriers to doing business in order to remain competitive vis-à-vis the rest of the world. Eliminating corruption, making it easier to enforce contracts by improving the court system, and speeding up property registration processes through digitisation are all initiatives which would make Bangladesh more attractive for business.

The Bangladesh economy has shown tremendous resilience and consistent GDP growth over the years, but continues to lag behind in global competitiveness.

We hope the government undertakes the right initiatives to help the country move up this list.

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