Ease of Doing Business Index

Double-digit ranking elusive in 2021

Jannatul Islam

26 May, 2021 12:00 AM printer

The country has a little chance to attain a double-digit ranking in the ease of doing business index this year despite the government’s efforts in this regard, economists say.

Ease of Doing Business, an index from the World Bank (WB), is an aggregate figure that includes different parameters which define the business environment in a country.

According to the latest report of the World Bank, Bangladesh ranked 168 out of 190 counties in the ease of doing business in 2020. The government has aimed to reach a double-digit ranking (bellow 99) by 2021.

Talking to the Daily Sun, eminent economists said the government has been working over the last four years to improve in the ease of doing business index. 

Eminent economist Ahsan H Mansur said the progress in the World Bank index is not related to the budget but mostly dependent on the bureaucratic process.

“In our country, the main problem is the mindset of government officials. If the line ministries do not make things easier, the country will never be able to improve in the ease of doing business index. In this case, the line ministries include the power ministry, industries and LGRD ministries and other relevant agencies established to support new and existing businesses,” Dr Ahsan, also chairman at BRAC Bank, told the Daily Sun.

Regarding Bangladesh’s position in the index, Dr Ahsan mentioned that the jump from 168th to a double-digit ranking (bellow 99) will be a fairytale indeed.

“Many measures have been taken by Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) in the last couple of years. However, we believe in result and impact in business. The reforms are yet to become visible as businesses continue to face the complexity of regulations,” he said.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman also said ease of doing businesses is more related to institutional process rather than fiscal planning.

 “In terms of fiscal planning, the government can allocate more funds for automation of the licensing authorities,” Dr Mustafizur told the Daily Sun. 

Addressing a meeting recently, BIDA executive chairman Sirazul Islam highlighted some limitations in bringing the country’s ranking to the double-digit ceiling within 2021.

“Reform is a continuous process. We have been conducting indicator-based measurements in the last 2-3 years. It will take more time. It will be tough to enter into the double-digit group by this year,” Sirazul Islam told a webinar of International Business Forum Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Bank (BB) has implemented several reform initiatives to simplify policies and payment systems for businesses over the last six months to make tangible progress in the Ease of Doing Business index.