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Bangladesh's competitiveness down by 10 notches

Publication Date : 06-09-2012


Bangladesh has the recorded steepest fall in its competitiveness since 2003-04 in a global survey due to a weakening of public sector institutions' performances, poor infrastructure, deteriorating economic stability and financial sector efficacy.

The country lost 10 positions to touch 118 out of 144 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2012-13, the World Economic Forum (WEF) said in its annual Global Competitiveness Report published yesterday.

Last year, Bangladesh ranked 108 in GCI, said the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). The report was unveiled in favour of the WEF at the CPD office in Bangladesh capital, Dhaka.

The report has been prepared on the basis of a survey among 14,000 industrialists and businessmen and included 87 medium and large companies of Bangladesh.

This is the third year in a row that Bangladesh has lost its competitive edge since 2009-10, when the country jumped five positions. In 2003-04, Bangladesh's rank slipped by 24 steps.

"Despite Bangladesh's falling ranking in the past years, its overall score was rising. This year, the country's score in competitiveness has also fallen," said CPD Senior Research Fellow Khondaker Golam Moazzem while presenting the report.

CPD Distinguished Fellow Debapriya Bhattacharya and its Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman also spoke at the occasion.

Citing local entrepreneurs, the CPD said businesses found inadequate infrastructure, corruption and lack of access to finance emerging as the top three problematic factors in doing business here.

Rising worries about political instability was another problematic factor for doing business.

“The financial market was at a disastrous state in 2012," said Moazzem, because of a deterioration in the sophistication of banks' performance, weak monitoring and supervision of banking and security markets, and difficulty in getting loans.

Businesses, however, saw lesser threats of terrorism and organised crime when there was deterioration in the business environment.

The findings also state that 75 per cent of the respondents felt the judiciary was being influenced by members of the government, citizens or firms. "Public trust in ethical standards of politicians is very low," said Moazzem.

"Undocumented extra payments or bribes from one private firm to another are common to secure business," said the CPD, quoting the report. As many as 67 per cent respondents believed that bribing for favourable decisions was common.

Business perceptions about the economic growth in 2012 also weakened compared to 2011 due to falling confidence, the report said.

Debapriya said the erosion of the country's competitiveness indicated a fall in the momentum of advancement.

"It shows signs of rift in that momentum of the country's progress," he said, citing corruption, fund crunch for investment, weak regulation and supervision in the financial and capital market, and weakness in economic stability as obstacles to development.

"Problems which were minor in the past are becoming larger along with the existing big problems," he said.

On electricity, the report said though supply improved marginally despite huge investment and tariff revisions, it remained at a “less than expected level”. Inflation also pushed up the production cost of factories.


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