'Doing business gets tougher in Bangladesh'

Written by Agencies | Dhaka, September 27: | Updated: Sep 27 2007, 15:19pm hrs
Bangladesh slid down 18 steps to the 107th position among 178 countries in terms of ease of doing business in a country, according to findings of a global survey published in Dhaka on Thursday.

The report titled 'Doing Business-2008', prepared jointly by International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank, showed that Bangladesh fell behind in nine indicators among ten, improving only in cross-border trading.

In 2006, the country ranked 88th in the same survey, based on the figures gathered from the last fiscal on ten categories to ascertain a country's business competitiveness.

The factors counted in the survey were "starting a business, dealing with licenses, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across border, enforcing contracts, and closing a business".

"Entrepreneurs have to spend 1,442 days for enforcing business contracts in Bangladesh, while the average requirement in the region is 990 days," it said.

The report said the cost of export in Bangladesh is 23 per cent lower compared to the average cost of exporting goods from the region of South Asia, while in the case of import the cost is 13 per cent lower than the regional average.

It said Bangladesh was the fourth easiest country in South Asia for doing business. Maldives stands at 60th position, Pakistan at 76th, and Sri Lanka has the global ranking of 101.

Bangladesh, however, is ahead of Nepal which has a global ranking of 111, Bhutan with a global ranking of 119, and India with a ranking of 120.

In terms of the standing in ease of starting a business, Bangladesh slid down 17 steps ranking 92nd in this year's survey report, while it had ranked the 75th in 2006.

Bangladesh requires going through eight different procedures for starting a business, while the regional average is 8.8 for the same purpose.

The cost of starting a business in Bangladesh, as a percentage of the per capita income, is 46.2 per cent, while the regional average is 37.2 per cent.

Bangladesh ranked 116th in the category of dealing with licenses requiring to go though 14 procedures against the regional average of 18.

Licensing cost in Bangladesh, as a percentage of the per capita income, is 751 per cent, while the regional average is 2,871 per cent of the per capita income, it said.

In terms of how easily properties can be registered in Bangladesh, the country ranked 171st in the current survey while it had ranked 113th in the same category in 2006.

In the categories of employing workers, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and closing a business, Bangladesh ranked 129th, 15th, 81st, 112th, 175th and 102nd respectively in the current survey, in the same categories its ranking had been 117th, 15th, 76th, 139th, 175th, and 93rd respectively last year.

The report said Bangladesh improved in cross-border trading. The country requires only 7 documents for exports, while the average regional requirement is 8.3 documents.

The state-run economic think tank Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies director Zaid Bakht said the report reflects the damages done to the economic and administrative sectors by the immediate past "partisan" government. But, he said, the present interim government has initiated reform measures the result of which has yet to make an impact.