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Press reports on Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16

held at Brac Centre Inn, Dhaka on Wednesday, 30 September 2015, CPD shared the report the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2015-16 during a media briefing on the occasion of its global release.

View more press reports on the event

 

Published in The Financial Express

Country moves two steps up in GCI rankings
CPD sees ‘slight deceleration’ in relative terms

FE Report

Bangladesh has moved two steps up in global competitiveness rankings for better performance in fields like macroeconomic environment, health, education and infrastructure, according to a latest finding.

The country was ranked 107th in the Global Competitiveness Report 2015 –two notches up from last year’s 109th stand.

But, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), which has carried out the opinion survey on behalf of the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), terms the latest development a slight ‘deceleration’ in relative terms.Country moves two steps up in GCI rankings

This is a yearly report of the WEF based on the global competitiveness index (GCI). It was released in Bangladesh Wednesday.

The GCI is an index of weighted average of 12 pillars with moving average of two years to avoid risk of bias in responses.

“Bangladesh has advanced mainly due to better performance in basic requirements,” Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said at the report- launching programme in the city.

However, significant deterioration is observed in few indicators — institutions at 132 (2015) from 131, financial market sophistication at 90 (2015) from 88 and goods market efficiency at 101 (2015) from 84.

“In relative terms, Bangladesh’s ranking has slightly decelerated although in absolute terms, Bangladesh’s overall score has increased by 1.1 per cent this year,” Dr Moazzem said at the press briefing.

The original survey was based on the 140 uniform set of questionnaires applicable for all 140 countries across the globe.

The report identified the most problematic factors for doing business in the country.

As per respondents’ replies, the most problematic factors for doing business were corruption, inadequate supply of infrastructure, government instability, inefficient government bureaucracy, access to finance, policy instability, inadequately educated workforce, tax rates and others.

But the CPD, which has been partnering with the WEF since 2001, also conducted another qualitative survey on some select entrepreneurs, styled rapid assessment survey.

According to the survey (rapid assessment survey), some 62 per cent mentioned that investment environment will not be favourable.

Nearly one-fourth of the respondents mentioned that their export-import business was badly affected by the recent political violence.

Some 22 per cent respondents while identifying the major reasons for capital flight from Bangladesh said political unrest is the key reason behind the capital flight.Country moves two steps up in GCI rankings

About 15 per cent said insecurity in the country is one of the reasons for the capital flight.

And 12 per cent of the respondents said the existing state of corruption also encouraged the financial delinquency.

However, they also identified other reasons such as black money, tax dodging and poor scope for investment in the country.

The period of the survey was February to May of this year and the political situation was not favourable that time.

Some 44 per cent entrepreneurs said firms’ investment may slow down in 2015.

“Companies get better access to commercial loans from international market,” the rapid survey says.

The surveyors found banking sector well-monitored and supervised by the central bank.

The survey said insider-trading on stock market is less pervasive.

Some 69 per cent respondents said the government has not taken adequate steps in order to address infrastructure needs of the country.

And some 80 per cent mentioned that the ongoing infrastructure projects will not be implemented in time.

The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 is being launched at a pivotal time for the global economy. On the one hand, economic development is characterised by the “new normal” of higher unemployment, lower productivity growth and subdued economic growth that could still be derailed by uncertainties such as geopolitical tensions, the future path of emerging markets, energy prices and currency changes.

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is based on 12 pillars under three sub-indices. Some 113 different aspects and issues are measured in the index. Each of them is measured with a score ranging from minimum 1 to maximum 7.

The report contains detailed profiles highlighting competitive strengths and weaknesses for each of the 140 economies featured, providing insights into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

For Bangladesh, the 4th pillar (health and primary education) gets 5.2 out of 7 score — the highest among 12 pillars, which is followed by 3rd pillar (macroeconomic environment) — 5 out of 7 score.

The 9th pillar (technological readiness) gained the lowest with 2.6 out of 7 while the 5th pillar (Higher education and training) was given 2.9. Bangladesh scored overall 3.8 out 7.

Switzerland topped the index for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Singapore, the United States, Germany, and the Netherlands. African country Nigeria stood at the bottom of the list after Mali.

Among the members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) India leads the way at 55th, followed by Sri Lanka (68th, up five). Nepal stood 100th (up two), Bhutan (105th, down two), Bangladesh (107th, up two), and Pakistan (126th, up three).

Last year, all the SAARC countries excepting Bhutan posted small gains.

 

 

Published in Dhaka Tribune

Bangladesh moves two notches up in competitiveness

Ibrahim Hossain Ovi

Bangladesh has moved two notches forward to 107 among 140 countries in the world in Global Competitiveness Index (GCI).

World Economic Forum prepared the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 which was launched in Bangladesh by the Forum’s local partner Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) at Brac Centre Inn on Wednesday morning.

As per the report, Bangladesh has progressed due to better performance in Basic Requirements: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education.

“Though Bangladesh has done better but no changes come in innovation efficiency and skill. We need a breakthrough to overcome the situation,” CPD Additional Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said.

The World Economic Forum made the report on 140 countries after evaluating 12 different issues known as “twelve pillars” under the three sub-indices.

The GCI combines 114 indicators that capture concepts that matter for productivity. These indicators are grouped into 12 pillars: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

These are in turn organized into three subindexes, in line with three main stages of development: basic requirements, efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication factors. The three subindexes are given different weights in the calculation of the overall Index, depending on each economy’s stage of development, as proxied by its GDP per capita and the share of exports represented by raw materials.

Switzerland topped the 2015-16 index for the seventh consecutive years followed by Singapore, United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong and Finland.

Among the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries, India was ranked 55, Sri Lanka 68, Nepal 100, Bhutan 105 and Pakistan 126.

The GCI includes statistical data from internationally recognized agencies, notably the International Monetary Fund (IMF); the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization; and the World Health Organization.

It also includes data from the World Economic Forum’s annual Executive Opinion Survey to capture concepts that require a more qualitative assessment, or for which comprehensive and internationally comparable statistical data are not available.

 

 

Published in The Daily Star Business

Major setbacks to growth linger
World Economic Forum says in report

Star Business Report

A majority of the challenges confronting the business community in Bangladesh remained unchanged or further deteriorated in 2015 compared to a year ago, stifling the country’s growth opportunities, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Of the 16 major challenges, nine problematic factors remained the same in 2015, three deteriorated and four improved from a year ago, said the Global Competitiveness Report for 2015-16.

However, the impact of the unchanged challenges is now less than before, said KG Moazzem, additional research director at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), while presenting the report at Dhaka’s Brac Inn yesterday. The top six challenges that did not change positions are inadequate infrastructure, corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy, political instability, limited access to finance and policy instability.

Moazzem said some factors — inadequately educated workforce, crime and theft, inflation, and poor public health — have become less problematic in 2015.

The other challenges are high tax rates, complex tax regulations, poor work ethics in the labour force, foreign currency regulations, insufficient capacity to innovate and restrictive labour regulations.  The report is the flagship publication of the WEF, where CPD is the partnering organisation in carrying out the Bangladesh study.

On the basis of the questionnaire developed by WEF, an executive opinion survey was conducted in Bangladesh between February and May this year, while the reference period was 2014.

The sample size was 56, with most companies being locally-owned and mostly based in Dhaka. The CPD sent the questionnaire to about 300 companies.

Three in four respondents said general infrastructure, road and rail network are under-developed, while electricity supply is insufficient and suffers frequent interruption.

Forty percent of respondents said the cost of financial services extensively impede business activity, while half of them said banks have been suffering from a lack of efficiency. They said financial auditing and reporting standards remain weak.

“The financial sector needs further reforms in order to become more competitive and efficient,” Moazzem said.

In case of foreign trade and investment, export suffers due to a weakness in internal and external connectivity, lack of diversity in products and markets and poor networking of entrepreneurs, according to the CPD analysis.

About 70 percent of respondents said customs procedures are very inefficient.

There are improvements in some areas; for example, only 36 percent of respondents think customers are rarely well-treated by the companies.

However, 70 percent said companies do not spend on research and development.

Bangladesh has competitive advantages based on low-costs, but not quality. Besides, there is narrow presence in the global value chain, according to the report.

On the security issue, the report said overall perception on law and order is not satisfactory, and crime and violence is an issue of concern.

The reliability of police services in law and order enforcement has slightly improved, but it is still below average, according to Moazzem.

The report painted a frustrating picture when it comes to governance.

About 96 percent said the ethical standards of politicians are very low; it was 94 percent in the previous survey. About 86 percent said government officials show favouritism to well-connected firms and individuals when deciding upon policies and contracts.

Rarely, the government ensures a stable policy environment for doing business, according to 66 percent of respondents.

The freedom of press is “somewhat limited”, said the report.

Companies have their own failures as well: they have limited capacity to innovate and merely turn ideas into commercially successful new products. Their production capacity is not too sophisticated either.

Corporate ethics of the companies are also weak, according to 73 percent of respondents.

On the education sector, half the respondents said the education system is not developed enough to meet the needs of a competitive economy.

Some 55 percent respondents said it is difficult for companies to find employees with the required skills, but 64 percent said investment by companies on training and employment has further deteriorated.

The WEF report was launched simultaneously in 140 countries.

The CPD also conducted a rapid assessment survey among the same sample. In the survey, 73 percent said the country’s tax system is slightly complex and three in four said insider trading in the stockmarket is “somewhat pervasive”.

Over 60 percent said money-laundering through the banking system is pervasive.

“Entrepreneurs are apprehensive about the domestic business environment as well as the overall investment situation in 2015,” said Moazzem.

According to the survey, the major reasons for capital flight from Bangladesh are political unrest, insecurity, corruption, tax avoidance and poor scope for investment.

It said export and import suffer due to border and behind the border bottlenecks.

Entrepreneurs have identified a number of major risks for their business for the next decade: energy price shocks, failure in national governance and failure of critically needed infrastructure.

CPD officials Towfiqul Islam Khan, research fellow, Anisatul Fatema Yousuf, director for dialogue and communication, Kishore Kumer Basak, senior research associate, Ariful Islam, research associate, were also present.

 

Published in The Daily Star

GLOBAL COMPETITIVENESS
Bangladesh two notches up

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh has moved two notches up in this year’s Global Competitiveness Index, riding on progress in the areas of macroeconomy, health, education and infrastructure.

The country was ranked 107th in 2015-16, from last year’s 109th, among 140 countries, according to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual report on global competitiveness.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) disclosed the ranking on behalf of the Geneva-based body in a press conference at Dhaka’s Brac Inn yesterday.

Bangladesh’s progress is primarily because of better performance in macroeconomic environment, health, education and infrastructure, said KG Moazzem, additional research director at the CPD.

The country scored 3.8 on a scale of 1 to 7, he said. Last year, the score was 3.7.

“This is not the kind of jump we expect,” said Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of CPD, while speaking from Switzerland through video-conferencing.

“We are walking whereas we need to run.”

The economist said Bangladesh could not make major breakthrough in the ranking because of lack of desired reforms in financial, capital and labour markets.

“There are serious shortcomings in the areas of good governance and rules of law which are keys to boosting competitiveness. Besides, Bangladesh will have to give more importance to innovation in order to become a middle income country.”

Prof Mustafiz said the government has taken many steps to enhance the efficiency of the institutions. “But it is not enough. We have to allow the Anti-Corruption Commission to work independently.”

“The government has given financial incentives for the public administration. At the same time, reforms in the administration have to be sped up. Many infrastructure projects have been taken up. We have to ensure that they are implemented timely.”

KG Moazzem said many countries have leapfrogged in the ranking whereas Bangladesh has moved up a bit.

For example, India moved up to 55th place from last year’s 71, whereas Sri Lanka was ranked 68th in 2015-16 from last year’s 73rd.

Both Nepal and Bhutan were ahead of Bangladesh as they were ranked at 100th and 105th respectively.

Only one country in South Asia was ranked below Bangladesh: Pakistan was ranked at 126th, while the Maldives was not included in the ranking.

Bangladesh’s macroeconomic stability has improved to 49th from 72nd while improvement in infrastructure saw ranking moved up to 123 from 127 last year.

The WEF said Bangladesh’s weakness includes institutions, financial market sophistication and goods market efficiency.

Negative changes occurred in the areas of health and primary education, technological readiness and business sophistication, said Moazzem.

“Governance and institutions are still in weak state and are cause for growing concern for businesses in medium to long term,” he said during his presentation.

Switzerland and Singapore held onto the two top places in the rankings and the US stayed in third place.

On the basis of the questionnaire developed by the WEF, an executive opinion survey was conducted in Bangladesh between February and May this year while reference period was January to December of 2014.

The sample size was 56, with most of the companies locally-owned and mostly based in Dhaka. The CPD had sent the questionnaire to about 300 companies.

The WEF assesses the world’s economies in 114 indicators in 12 pillars: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

The report issued a warning about the health of the global economy, saying “a ‘new normal’ of suppressed economic and productivity growth and persistently high unemployment is damaging resilience and leaving the world vulnerable to another protracted slump”.

It called on countries to “step up their efforts to re-accelerate economic growth”.

The WEF report was simultaneously launched in 140 countries. The CPD has been partnering with the WEF in preparing the report since 2001.

 

 

Published in Dhaka Tribune

2 notches up in competitiveness index

Tribune Report

Bangladesh has scaled up two places on the Global Competitiveness Index, according to the latest rankings released by the World Economic Forum (WEF) yesterday.

It now ranks 107th among 140 countries, against 109th in 2014-15. But, despite this jump, Bangladesh experienced negative changes in the sub-indices on institutions, financial market sophistication, goods market efficiency, technological readiness and business sophistication.

Switzerland retained the top spot in the latest rankings, followed by Singapore, the US, Germany and Netherlands.

Among South Asian countries, India leads the way at 55th, followed by Sri Lanka (68th, up five), Nepal (100th, up two), Bhutan (105th, down two) and Pakistan (126th, up three).

The report was launched in 140 nations simultaneously and in Dhaka. Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) launched the report as a partner institute of WEF.

CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman who joined the event through Skype from Geneva said: “Bangladesh needs to run rather than walking for faring well in competitiveness.”

“Though the score increased, the country did not make breakthrough in efficiency, productivity and labour market,” he said.

He suggested that Bangladesh needs infrastructural development, reforms and enabling environment in public administration to graduate into an upper middle-income country from its current lower-middle income status.

The WEF report attributes the jump in Bangladesh’s ranking to better performance in basic requirements but at the cost of weakening “efficiency enhancers”.

The Global Competitiveness Index is an annual assessment to gauge the factors driving productivity and prosperity across 140 countries.

It measures a country’s performance on 12 pillars – institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, heath and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labour market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication and innovation.

The World Bank’s ease-of-doing-business survey published early this year ranks Bangladesh at 173rd.

The latest WEF rankings shows Bangladesh’s institutions are judged not favourably (ranked 132nd against 131st in 2014-15).

The report says performance in efficiency enhancers declined two places to 105th in ranking.

A big improvement was seen in the country’s macroeconomic stability through the past year, with its ranking jumping 23 places to 49th in 2015-16. Part of this could reflect the recent moderation in inflation and the fall in the current account deficit.

On infrastructure, the ranking moved up four notches. Now, it ranks 123rd on the quality of railroad infrastructure.

But on other key parameters, it fares poorly, ranking 113rd on the quality of roads and 120th on electricity supply. Ground and water transport networks have further worsened.

About governance, the report says the governance-related issues have remained unchanged and even deteriorated with 68% respondents believing that the parliament is ineffective as law-making institution, and 96% believe that politicians maintain poor ethical standards.

Health and primary education is seen as an area of improvement, with Bangladesh’s ranking jumping 1 place to 101st.

On innovation, Bangladesh ranks 127th from 129th in 2014-15.

The report lists corruption, instability of the government, higher tax, poor work ethic and complexity of tax regulations, access to financing, government instability and inadequate supply of infrastructure as the top concerns in terms of doing business in India.

According to an analysis of Bangladesh’s Business Environment in 2015, most Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have identified energy price shock, underdeveloped infrastructure and weak governance as the foremost risks for doing business in Bangladesh within the next 10 years.

 

Published on bdnews24

Bangladesh moves up by two places in Global Competitiveness Index

Staff Correspondent

The World Economic Forum (WEF) has upgraded Bangladesh’s status in the Global Competitiveness Index by two places.

Bangladesh now ranks 107 in the list of 140 countries.

The forum published The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16 across the world on Wednesday.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) published the report in Bangladesh on behalf of the forum.

The WEF, known as the Davos Forum, has been making the report since 2011. CPD is its partner in Bangladesh.

To make the report this year, it conducted a survey from February 10 to May 1. In Bangladesh, 56 businessmen, whose firms are linked to global trade, took part in the survey.

CPD Additional Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said Bangladesh made the progress in the index for developing infrastructure, micro economy, good governance and market efficiency.

The forum recommended more attention to develop financial market, good governance and technological readiness.

“Otherwise the concern over achieving the power to transfer from lower-middle income country to middle income country will remain,” Moazzem said.

Referring to the businessmen, the report said the biggest obstacles for trade in Bangladesh were poor infrastructure, corruption and lack of government’s administrative skill.

Of the businessmen, 62 per cent expressed concerns over political instability. They said they thought the investment in private sector would drop in 2015.

They also pointed out lack of financial support, high tax rate, shortage of educated manpower, complex tax policy, and crime as the obstacles in trade in Bangladesh.

Switzerland topped the list of the countries based on competitiveness.

In South Asia, India ranks 55, Sri Lanka 68, Nepal 100, Bhutan 105 and Pakistan 126. All the countries in the region, except Bhutan, made progress in the index.

CPD also published another report on business environment.

It found improvement in power supply but not in infrastructure.

The report said ICT sector saw development but was still in planning stage.

Most of the businessmen who were surveyed said cost of financial service rose, while the banks were doing worse.

They, however, felt the police were providing better service to improve security in Bangladesh.

CPD also observed that Bangladesh needed to do more in good governance by reducing bribery, and making government organisations and Parliament more effective.

Fifty-four per cent of the businessmen thought the media were enjoying less freedom, making it hard to tackle the challenges of good governance.

 

 

Published on BSS

Broader reforms suggested for improving business competitiveness

Economists suggested broad-based reforms for rapid improvement of the country’s business competitiveness, which would also eventually push the status of the country upward in the global competitive rankings.

They said the country needs long-term investment and reform policies for financial sectors, governance and education with substantial human resource development as envisaged in the 7th Five Year Plan in order to push the country beyond its competitiveness rankings.

The observation emerged at a media briefing held at Brac Centre Inn, Dhaka on Wednesday, coinciding with the global release of the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) 2015-16 which ranked Bangladesh 107th among 140 economies in terms of global business competitiveness.

The GCR is an annual publication of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which was launched in Dhaka by the local think-tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CDP).

While presenting the keynote, CPD Additional Research Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem observed that the suggested reforms would add momentum to Bangladesh’s slow pace of development as seen in the competiveness index for the last few years.

Joining the media briefing over skype from abroad, CPD Executive Director Professor Mustafizur Rahman observed that Bangladesh would need further infrastructural development, reforms and enabling environment in public administration to graduate into an upper middle-income country from its current lower-middle income status.

On behalf of CPD, Dr Moazzem presented major findings from the GCR, Bangladesh’s Business Environment in 2015 and Rapid Perception Survey 2015 carried out on current issues of Bangladesh economy.

According to an analysis of Bangladesh’s Business Environment in 2015, most Bangladeshi entrepreneurs have identified energy price shock, underdeveloped infrastructure and weak governance as the foremost risks for doing business in Bangladesh within the next 10 years.

The report indicated that businesses in Bangladesh are increasingly being concerned about efficiency related problems.

Both public and private sectors were called upon with respect to developing ICT-based domestic technological capacity and increasing environmental compliance, a major factor for competitiveness in the global market.

 

 

Published in Daily Sun

Dhaka goes two notches up
Global Competitiveness

Staff Correspondent

Bangladesh has climbed up two notches in the Global Competitiveness Index this year, riding on better macroeconomic health, infrastructures and basic services.

The country ranked 107 among 140 countries, up from last year’s 109th position,  in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2015-16, a result in which the current government is viewed by the investors.

Bangladesh scored 3.8 this year on a scale of 1 to 7, up from last year’s was 3.7.

Local think tank Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) made public the report of the Geneva-based WEF at a press conference in Dhaka.

“Bangladesh’s improvement in competitiveness was driven by macroeconomic performance and progress in health, education and infrastructures,” said Khandokar Golam Moazzem, additional research director at CPD, while highlighting the report.

“Moving two notches upward from the 109th position in 2014, Bangladesh’s progress was characterised by improving macroeconomic stability, infrastructure, market size, labour market efficiency and innovation,” said the report. However, the report also pointed out that Bangladesh experienced negative changes in the areas of institutions, financial market sophistication, goods market efficiency, health and primary education, technological readiness and business sophistication.

The list of top 10 countries remains unchanged, but the rankings of a few countries have changed.

Switzerland topped the list for the seventh consecutive year while the rankings of Singapore and the USA are second and third respectively.

The other countries in the top 10 list are Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The top five countries from the bottom are Guinea, Chad, Mauritania, Sierra Leone and Burundi.

In South Asia, India jumped up 17 steps to 55th, while Sri Lanka moved up five notches to 68th. Pakistan advanced three steps to the 126th, Bhutan lost two positions to 105th, and Nepal gained two steps to the 100th position.

The GCI assessed the competitiveness landscape of 140 economies looking into their productivity and prosperity drivers this year. The GCI assessed the 144 economies last year.

In partnership with the WEF, the CPD carried out an opinion survey with a sample size of 56 businessmen from February to May in Bangladesh to assess its economy with a view to preparing the Global Competitiveness Report.

CPD additional research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said though Bangladesh has performed better in basic requirements, it failed to score well in efficiency enhancer and sophistication.

“Bangladesh needs to focus on efficiency, sophistication and technological innovation, good governance, comprehensive reform in the financial sector and education sector to make a quick jump in the ranking,” he said.

Citing the report, Dr Moazzem said local businessmen were hesitating to invest as they were concerned over the government’s stability and its policy.

Businesspeople particularly pointed to weak infrastructure, graft and inefficient administration for creating hurdles to businesses.

They said getting bank loans has become tougher because of high interest rates although banks have enough liquidity, also expressing concerns for weakness in the tax management.

According to the report, Bangladesh’s performance in efficiency enhancer declined both in ranking and score as it scored 3.58 on a scale of 1 to 7 to fall to 105th in 2015 from 103rd with score of 3.60 in 2014.

However, Bangladesh improved significantly in few indicators, including microeconomic stability (49th position, up from 72nd in 2014), infrastructure (123rd from 127th) and market size (stands at 40th position from 44th), the report said.

There has been marked deterioration in a few indicators, including institutions (132nd position from 131st), financial market sophistication (90th from 88th), goods market efficiency (101st position from 84th), the report showed.

In a video conference from Geneva, CPD Executive Director Prof Mustafizur Rahman said Bangladesh still faces problems of capital, labour and land — the key to enhancing productivity.

“If Bangladesh wants to graduate to middle-income or higher middle-income country, it’ll have to increase efficiency, productivity and restore order in the financial sector,” he said.

 

 

Published in The Independent

Global competitiveness
Bangladesh up two notches

Staff Reporter

Bangladesh advanced two notches up in global competitiveness, thanks primarily to better performance in basic requirements such as infrastructure and macroeconomic stability, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2015–2016.

Among 140 countries, Bangladesh ranked 107th, scoring 3.8 on a scale of 7 this year from the position of 109th with a 3.7 score last year, stated the report prepared by the World Economic Forum (WEF), which was released yesterday.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a partner of the WEF in the preparation of the report, released its findings at a press briefing held at BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.

The country’s performance, however, deteriorated in some major and sub-indices, including institutions, financial market sophistication, efficiency of goods markets and technological readiness, the report observed.

Overall performance in efficiency enhancers, and innovation and sophistication for competitiveness, also declined during the year, it stated.

According to the report, Bangladeshi businesses also identified 15 of the most problematic factors for doing business in the country, while top six problematic factors, such as inadequate infrastructure, corruption, inefficient government bureaucracy, government instability, limited access to financing, and policy instability, have remained the same, as in the previous year.

Perceptions regarding some of the problematic factors have intensified further, the report found.  The perception regarding the instability of the government has increased to 11.6 per cent from 9.4 per cent last year, the report stated.

The Geneva, Switzerland-based WEF prepared the report based on an opinion survey conducted among the owners of medium and large enterprises of different countries on major issues, and available data that is important for competitiveness.

Competitiveness is defined as the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country, which, in turn, sets the level of prosperity that can be earned by an economy, the report stated.

A total of 56 executives based in Dhaka participated in the Bangladesh part of the survey on business competitiveness, conducted between February 1 and May 1 this year.

The CPD also presented the findings of the Bangladesh Business Environment Study 2015, prepared on the basis of the outcome of the GCR. The independent think-tank also conducted a rapid assessment survey on different issues of the report. The CPD’s

additional research director, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, made a presentation on the report. Its executive director, Mustafizur Rahman, attended the programme from Geneva via Skype.

Moazzem said though Bangladesh’s score increased slightly, its competitiveness had remained stuck at the lowest quartile of the list and, in relative terms, Bangladesh’s ranking has rather slightly decelerated this year, if the rankings are squeezed within 100 from 140.

“We are moving forward, but at a turtle’s pace,” he observed.

Entrepreneurs also identified some major risks at the national and global levels for doing business in Bangladesh over the next 10 years. The risks include energy price shocks in the global market, failure in national governance, bad infrastructure, climate change adoption, institutions, and urban planning.

According to the Bangladesh Business Environment Study, weak infrastructure is still a major challenge. Businesses perceptions regarding the government’s implementation plan for utilising information and communication technology to improve overall competitiveness has improved significantly, but the availability of the latest technology is not satisfactory, it said.

Perceptions regarding governance issues, including effectiveness of Parliament, ethical standards of politicians, the bureaucracy and undocumented payments or bribes for utilities and in tax payments have deteriorated this year, according to the study.

Switzerland leads the list for the seventh consecutive year, followed by Singapore, the US, Germany, the Netherlands, Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden and the UK.

Among South Asian countries, India secured the top position in the 55th place, moving up 16 steps from last year’s 71st position, followed by Sri Lanka with 68th, up by five notches, Nepal 100th (up by two), Bhutan 105th (down by two), and Pakistan in 126th place (up by three).

 

Published in New Nation

Bangladesh ranks 107th in global competitiveness

Staff Reporter

Bangladesh has been ranked 107th among 140 countries in The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 by the World Economic Forum. Bangladesh moved two notches up in the Global Competitiveness Index compared with last year’s 109th among 140 countries in the world, indicating progress in the country’s economic efficiency and sophistication.

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), local partner of the forum, disclosed the information at a discussion titled “The Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 and Bangladesh Business Environment Study-2015 ” at BRAC Centre Inn at Mohakhali of the capital city on Wednesday morning.

Speaking on the occasion, CPD Additional Director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem said, capacity of several areas inside banking sector has decreased due to high interest rate and rigidity to loan sanctioning. Bangladesh’s progress is primarily because of better performance in macroeconomic environment, health, education and infrastructure, said the CPD research director.

The Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) is based on 12 pillars under three sub-indexes. Some 113 different aspects and issues are measured in the index. Each of them is measured with a score ranging from minimum 1 to maximum 7.The Report contains detailed profiles highlighting competitive strengths and weaknesses for each of the 140 economies featured, providing insight into the drivers of their productivity and prosperity.

For Bangladesh, 4th pillar (health and primary education) gets 5.2 out of 7 score – the highest among 12 pillars, which is followed by 3rd pillar (macroeconomic environment).The report said that India, another South Asian country, has moved up 16 positions to rank 55th on a global index of the world’s most competitive economies, where Switzerland remains on top.

Globally, Switzerland has retained its top position as the world’s most competitive economy for 7th year in a row. Switzerland is followed by the United States (USA), Singapore, Germany and the Netherlands in the top-five. It said they are followed by Japan, Hong Kong, Finland, Sweden and the United Kingdom in the top-ten.

 

 

Published in New Age

CPD study finds lack of freedom of press

Staff Correspondent

Entrepreneurs’ perception of freedom of press in the country has been downgraded to ‘bad’ this year, from ‘good’ last year, according to the Bangladesh Business Environment Study-2015.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue carried out the study based on the outcome of the Global Competitiveness Report 2015-2016 for which it conducted an executive opinion survey on 56 owners of medium and large entrepreneurs from Bangladesh, mainly based in Dhaka.

Freedom of press has weakened according to 54 per cent of the respondents, according to the study.

In last year’s study, entrepreneurs’ perception of freedom of press was good, it said.

The CPD disclosed the findings of the study and released the GCR at a press briefing held at BRAC Centre Inn in Dhaka.

At the briefing, CPD additional research director Khondaker Golam Moazzem said entrepreneurs’ perception of freedom of press was always ‘good’ and for the first time it has become ‘bad’.

Freedom of press is very important for a country and hopefully the situation will improve, he said.

The survey was carried out between February 1 and May 1 this year.

 

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