GLOBAL COMPETITIVE INDEX
Bangladesh improves, but corruption remains concernStaff Correspondent
Bangladesh showed an upward move by eight positions to 110 in the Global Competitive Index in 2013 from 118 compared to the previous year among 148 countries.
Despite having positive changes as regards some issues, key corruption related concerns have remained at the same state, the Centre for Policy Dialogue on Monday observed at a press conference on the occasion of releasing of Global Competitiveness Report 2013-14 and Bangladesh Business Environment Study 2013.
In particular, public and private investments in the energy and power sector, and initiatives in monetary management have shown signs of improvement, which contributed to the escalation in the GCR, the report said.
This upward movement has helped Bangladesh only to recover its earlier position108, which was lost in 2012, the CPD said.
Corruption has returned back as the lead constraining factor along with inefficient government bureaucracy, which indicates that Bangladesh is still struggling with structural and governance weakness pulling down the economy from attaining higher level of competitiveness, the report said.
Political instability has emerged as a growing concern from the perspective of business competitiveness, it added.
Mustafizur Rahman, Executive Director of the CPD, observed that Bangladesh needs to perform well in a number of areas including good governance, business sophistication and technological readiness and innovation to do better in future ranking.
‘We are walking, while others are running. To attain the desired growth the government should put highest efforts on reduction of corruption, improvement of infrastructural development and to remove inefficiency from government bureaucracy,’ he said.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of CPD, shared the findings on the13th Executive Opinion Survey on behalf of the research team.
Moazzem noted that despite some positive changes, corruption remains one of the binding constraints that afflicts performances of Bangladesh’s business sector.
This nagging problem was accentuated by poor state of governance, inefficient bureaucracy and weak macroeconomic management, he said.
In the GCI report for 2013-14, out of 148 countries Switzerland topped for the fifth consecutive year, followed by Singapore in second position and Finland in third position due to its notable performance in the innovation and labour market efficiency as well as the sophistication of business sector.
The CPD interviewed on behalf of the World Economic Forum 71 leading businessman of Bangladesh as sample who has business capital of Tk100 million, who identified the major difficulties in the business environment that they are facing including corruption, weakness of public institutions and lack of access to finance.
The level of efficiency of customs procedures is moderately inefficient in the country for the foreign direct investment, said 57 per cent respondent of the survey.
The 10th Rapid Assessment Survey carried out by the CPD indicated that entrepreneurs were apprehensive of possible fallouts of political instability and uncertainties, which might undermine Bangladesh’s competitiveness in future.
In the RAS, around 73 per cent respondents apprehended that the investment environment in Bangladesh will deteriorate further in 2013.
On the other hand, 56 per cent respondents expressed optimism that withdrawal of GSP facilities will not adversely affect Bangladesh’s export performance.
Moazzem in his keynote presentation said, corruption has jumped to the top position as major problematic factor after five years, which is a great threat for doing business.
He also said lack of experience in government administration and political unrest is another threat.
Banks are sitting with healthy balance sheet but they are more cautious to provide funds due to scandals like Halmark, he added.
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