Bangladesh has become less competitive. In the latest edition of Global Competitiveness Report (GCR), Bangladesh ranks 108, a step down from what was shown in the 2010 report.
The survey, conducted by World Economic Forum (WEF) among 142 countries, downgraded Bangladesh on three key problematic factors– inadequate power and energy infrastructures, frequent corruption and inefficient government bureaucracy. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) disclosed this at a press conference held at its office in the city on Thursday. CPD is the local partner for WEF, popularly known as the Davos Forum.
Along with the GCR, CPD also disclosed the findings of its annual event, styled Rapid Perception Survey (RPS), on contemporary issues and concerns related to domestic economy.
CPD said in its survey that business in Bangladesh had been affected in 2010 due to a series of external and internal factors, such as, global economic uncertainty, energy price volatility, trade barriers, weak and unstable financial market, inflation, exchange rate volatility and lack of natural resources.
“Inadequate infrastructure remained the main problem for doing business in the country (22.6 per cent in 2010), followed by corruption (18.5 per cent in 2011), and inefficient government bureaucracy (17.4 per cent 2011),” CPD’s senior research fellow, Dr. Khondaker Golam Moazzem, said while presenting the reports.
Quoting the GCR, Moazzem said the country scored very low in financial market sophistication and innovation in trade and commerce.
“Other reasons [for the poor performance of the country] included policy instability, difficulties in access to finance, unskilled workforce, weak tax regulations and poor public health,” he said elaborating on the GCR and the RPS, the survey conducted by CPD.
RPS has been carried out based on interviewing entrepreneurs of 70 big companies of the country, who have assets worth Tk. 10 crore each.
Moazzem said local business people were of the opinion that adverse impact on the financial sector in 2010 needed to be assessed properly in order to avoid fallouts in future.
In this context, difficulty in obtaining credit, poor monitoring and supervision both in banking and capital market, poor financial auditing and reporting and a rise in money laundering should be addressed through proper institutional and regulatory measures in order to lift the country’s GCR ranking, he added.
“Though Bangladesh slipped to the 108th position in GCR rankings, its GCI (Global Competitiveness Index) score has increased by 2.5 per cent in 2011 compared to 2010,” Moazzem pointed out.
It appears that while other competitor countries, such as Singapore, Sri Lanka, Cambodia, Nepal and Pakistan, have made substantial progress in rankings within a short period of time, Bangladesh moved on at a snail’s pace, he pointed out.
In the GCR rankings, Cambodia jumped to 97th position in 2011 from 109th in 2010, Sri Lanka moved up to 52nd from 62 in 2010, Nepal ranked 125th in 2011 up from 130th position in 2010 and Pakistan went up to 118th from its previous 123rd.
Switzerland is at the top of the GCR rankings while Singapore ranks second.
“One step down is not a big change. Let us be hopeful as our country has made some achievements in GCI scores in some areas. But the government should set its target close to the rankings of medium level countries. Achieving the target will need the help of the private sector,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director, CPD.
CPD’s distinguished fellow, Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, additional director (research) Dr Fahmida Khatun, and research associate Kishore Kumer Basak, were also present at the press conference.
Courtesy of The Independent