Doing Business Index: Bangladesh improves ranking

Bangladesh advanced 8 notches in global ease of doing business ranking to 168 out of 190 counties, according to a report of World Bank.

The country rose to the rank of the 168th from 176th in the previous year, the WB said in its Doing Business 2020 report released today.

The jump was aided by the country’s improved score in the areas of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, and getting credit.

“This is the first time we have made such a huge jump. But definitely we will not consider this as a big achievement. We are still 168th out of 190 countries and we want to make substantial improvement the next year,” said Salman F Rahman, the prime minister’s adviser on private industry and investment at press conference at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) today.

Principal Secretary of Prime Minister Md Nojibur Rahman, Chief Coordinator on SDG Affairs of the Prime Minister Office (PMO) Md Abul Kalam Azad, Finance Secretary Abdur Rouf Talukder, Executive Chairman of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Md Sirazul Islam also present at the briefing. 

“Taking rankings to double digit should be our target. For this, we have to accomplish a lot of tasks and those are ongoing. I expect our position will improve in the coming days,” Salman F Rahman said, adding that Bangladesh has been named as one of the top 20 reformers by the World Bank recently.

Despite improvement, Bangladesh remains just ahead of Afghanistan in South Asia. India topped the list with a ranking of 63rd, up from 77th a year ago. Bhutan is ranked 89th, followed by Nepal 94th, Sri Lanka 99th, Pakistan 108th, the Maldives 147th, and Afghanistan 173rd.

In a press release, the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) said Bangladesh made starting a business less expensive by reducing name clearance and registration fees, and abolishing the fee for certifying digital certificates.

“This reform applies to both Dhaka and Chittagong,” it added.

While getting electricity has also become faster because of investment by the government in digitisation and human capital.

“Bangladesh also made getting electricity less costly by reducing the amount of the security deposit for a new connection. This reform applies to Dhaka.”

It said expansion of coverage of the CIB improved access to credit information by borrowers.

The Doing Business score is 45.0, which is 2.5 percentage points higher than that of last year, according to the Doing Business 2020.

BIDA said the government has taken a number of initiatives to improve reforms to ease process of doing business in Bangladesh.

This includes developing action plans, forming task forces, coordinating reform initiatives among relevant government agencies; providing reform support to line agencies, conducting dialogues with private sector stakeholders, and monitoring reform progress, it added.

In a press statement, the WB citing Doing Business 2020 said Bangladesh carried out three business reforms during the past year, the most in a decade, and would need to accelerate the reform pace to further improve its regional and global competitiveness.

 “Improving the business environment is essential for Bangladesh to support private sector development, which will create more jobs and foster sustainable economic growth,” said Mercy Miyang Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh.

“It would be important for Bangladesh to build on the recent achievement and further accelerate regulatory reform efforts to continue to improve the business climate.”

The WB said the reforms enacted this year followed three years of inactivity.

With 15 reforms since the inception of the Doing Business study in 2003-04, Bangladesh lags behind other economies in South Asia, it added.

“Bangladesh ranks next to last globally on the enforcing contracts indicator and 184 out of 190 on the registering property indicator,” said the multilateral lender.

Transferring a property title in Bangladesh takes on average 271 days, almost six times longer than the global average of 47 days. Resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court takes on average 1,442 days, almost three times more than the 590 days average among OECD high-income economies.

To connect a new building to an electrical grid, a business needs to complete nine procedures, the most not only in the region but also globally. Only two other economies in the world require nine steps to obtain a connection, it added.

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