The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised a media briefing on “Release of the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 and Bangladesh Business Environment Study 2016” at CIRDAP Auditorium, Dhaka on 28 September 2016.

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Published in The Daily Star on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Competitiveness Index: Bangladesh 1-notch up

Star Business Report

Bangladesh has moved one notch up to 106th place out of 138 economies in Global Competitiveness Index in 2016-17. STAR file photo

Bangladesh has moved one notch up to 106th place out of 138 economies in Global Competitiveness Index in 2016-17. STAR file photo

Bangladesh has improved its competitiveness for the fourth year, thanks to gradual progress in different indicators, mainly infrastructure, according to the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR).

The country moved up one notch to 106 out of 138 economies on the Global Competitiveness Index for 2016-2017, prepared by the World Economic Forum.

“This is positive that Bangladesh has increased its score and ranking gradually,” said Prof Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue at the launch of the GCR at the Cirdap in Dhaka yesterday.

The GCR ranks nations based on their ability to offer products and services meeting local and global quality standards at a competitive price with adequate returns on the resources employed or spent on providing them.

A year ago, Bangladesh was ranked 107 out of 140 countries, according to the WEF that prepared the report unveiled worldwide yesterday. The Geneva-based forum made the report based on a survey conducted with a set of questionnaire to assess the level of competitiveness of the economies.

The CPD released the GCR on behalf of the WEF in Dhaka. It also disclosed the findings of its Bangladesh Business Environment Study 2016.

In the GCR’s competitiveness ranking, Switzerland continued to maintain its position as the most competitive economy in the world, narrowly ahead of Singapore and the United States. Following them are Netherlands and Germany, said the WEF.

According to the report, all countries, except Sri Lanka, gained in rankings with India moving 16 notches up to 39 from last year. Bhutan and Nepal also rose in ranks and remained ahead of Bangladesh.

Pakistan becomes the weakest performer among the South Asian countries.

Bangladesh’s overall score rose 1.06 percent to 3.8 on the current index from 3.76 a year ago, said CPD Additional Research Director Khondaker Golam Moazzem while presenting the key findings of the competitiveness report.

Though infrastructure is said to have improved in Bangladesh, it still remains the major problematic factor for doing business in Bangladesh followed by corruption, according to the report.

Limited access to finance emerged as the third major problem, Moazzem said, adding that problematic factors increased from a few to many.

Bangladesh’s competiveness is not growing compared to the countries it is competing with, he said.

“Bangladesh is stuck in the lower end segment of business competitiveness. We are walking but others are running.”

The GCR shows that the country has made progress in infrastructure and institutional capacity.

However, Bangladesh’s position has deteriorated in macroeconomic stability. It slid to the 65th position in macroeconomic stability from 49th last year.

Bangladesh’s position went down because of a declining situation in terms of government budget balance and gross national savings as percentage of GDP and the country’s credit rating in comparison with other economies, said Moazzem.

Bangladesh has been increasing its competitiveness based on scores in 12 categories termed as the pillars of competitiveness. The competitiveness index is the weighted average of these pillars.

Last year, Bangladesh moved up two notches from its ranking of 109 in the GCI 2014-15.

The latest report said Bangladesh’s performance deteriorated in health and primary education and financial market sophistication. The country’s ranking of financial market sophistication fell to 99 from 90 a year ago.

Moazzem said the financial sector suffers due to poor soundness of banks, limited availability of financial products and difficulty in raising capital through the stock market.

“Financial system needs overhauling to improve its competitiveness,” he said, recommending a reform commission.

Governance is the weakest part of business competitiveness of Bangladesh, Moazzem said.

“The government should gradually focus on efficiency enhancing factors along with ensuring basic requirements,” he said, adding that other than electricity, none of the infrastructure facility was found to have improved considerably, said Moazzem referring to rail, road and waterways.

Published in The Financial Express on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Country’s competitiveness up slightly

Roams around lower rungs in WEF’s rating

FE Report

Bangladesh has just moved one notch up to rank 106th on a global index of world’s most competitive economies that implies that the country rambles in lower-end segment of business competitiveness.

The latest ratings show that though there is a little improvement in scores but its competitiveness is not growing compared to competing countries.

Switzerland remains on top of pyramid–standing narrowly ahead of Singapore and the USA.

The global competitiveness index is an annual assessment of the factors driving productivity and prosperity in 138 countries surveyed by a global economic forum.

This is the 2016-17 edition of the survey report by the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), disclosing the annual report in Dhaka, said the country has yet to make visible progress on three out of four basic requirements: institution, infrastructure, health and primary education.

“Even macroeconomic stability pillar slid significantly from 49th to 65,” the CPD mentioned, based on the findings by the Forum.

CPD, a local think tank that partnered with the World Economic Forum, disclosed the findings at a press briefing held at the CIRDAP auditorium. CPD’s additional research director, Khondaker Golam Moazzem, presented the report while its executive director, Professor Mustafizur Rahman, was among others present.

Overall score has improved by 1.06 per cent to 3.80 in 2016-17 from 3.76 the previous year, said Mr Golam Moazzem.

The Geneva-based WEF found country’s most problematic factors for doing business increasingly dispersed from few core issues to other non-core issues.

It noticed inadequate infrastructure and corruption as two major problems facing the country for a long period.

“Public investment for infrastructure development has yet to make significant contribution to businesses,” the Forum said.

Limited access to finances was identified as a major problem although the country has improved slightly on this score.

Inefficient government bureaucracy is seen as a challenge, and it suggests reforms in the public sector in order to cater to the needs of dynamic and new entrepreneurs in the private sector.

“Inadequate supply of educated workforce entered one of the top problems for the first time in the most problematic factors for doing business,” says the report.

However, policy instability, government instability, inflation and labour regulations appeared less concerning for the businesses in the most problematic factors for doing business.

While presenting the Bangladesh chapter of the report, Mr Moazzem said the businesses now do not bother about the old problems rather they face newer ones like the lack of educated skilled people.

He said Bangladesh used to score better in financial sector but it now turned for the worse.

The mobilisation of fund from the stock market and its overall position is better.

Quoting the survey, Mr Moazzem said press freedom is now not in the same position as it was before.

He said infrastructure should be significantly improved to gain a better ranking in the years ahead.

The government should focus on efficiency-enhancing factors along with basic requirement consisting of institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability and health and primary education, the policy researcher said.

Prof Rahman said the country is progressing but should notice how the other competitive countries are advancing.

The report said high tax rate and complicated tax payment are the growing concerns for the businesses.

“Financial environment was worse than that of the previous year,” the evaluation report noted.

Some 43 per cent respondents found police service unreliable to enforce law and order.

However, the recent terror attacks and their outcome were not reflected in the survey as it had ended before the Gulshan café and other terror strikes.

“Governance is the weakest part of the country’s competiveness as most indicates in the category in the bad and worse,” according to the report.

Published in Dhaka Tribune
 on Thursday, 29 September 2016

Bangladesh ranks 106th in Global Competitiveness Index

Tribune Business Desk

Bangladesh has ranked 106th in Global Competitiveness Index among 138 countries in 2016-17, one notch above its position held last year

gcr-16-17-bangladeshIn the previous year, the country held 107th position among 140 countries.

Though Bangladesh scored 1.06% higher to 3.80 from 3.76, it lagged behind the ranking among the countries surveyed.

Bangladesh’s position would have remain unchanged at 106th if the survey was conducted over 140 countries.

The World Economic Forum popularly known as Davos Forum has been publishing the Global Competitiveness Report (GCR) since 1979.

A total of 11 sectors including infrastructure, technology, financial environment, foreign trade and investment, business operations and innovation, security, governance, education and health, etc, were focused on to prepare the report.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue explained that Bangladesh is lagging behind the global ranking as it still underperforms in basic requirements under sub-indexes.

The Bangladesh think tank came up with the report at a press conference held in the capital yesterday. As a partner, CPD has been carrying out its role in Bangladesh part for the report. The survey was conducted from February 1 to May 1 this year.

India has made remarkable improvement while Pakistan is the worst performer among the South Asian countries. India advanced to 39th position from 55th last year while Pakistan came 122th from 126th, according to the report.

Top 10 countries topped the list this year as well, with Switzerland being 1st, Singapore 2nd and the United States occupying 3rd position.

Corruption and inadequate supply of infrastructure were the top two problematic factors this year as in the last year.

Corruption slightly improved to second position, scoring 16.5 from 18.7 score last year.

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, additional research director of CPD, said corruption is still a major problem in Bangladesh, but the problematic factors have spread out to other topics.

The country’s financial sector deteriorated this year as no indicators were found at least good this year, but in the last year, the survey found two good indicators. All indicators in this sector were found either bad or worse, according to the report.

The cost of financial services impedes business actively rated 65%, which was 66% last year, all scoring bad. Limited access to financing has become a major problem placed 3rd this year from 5th last year.

Moazzem said the country’s banking sector has plenty of money, but businessmen are more concerned about the cost of borrowing than the availability of fund.

The entrepreneurs who were surveyed observed limited progress in infrastructure facilities during 2015 excepting power sector. Road transport infrastructure is underdeveloped rated as worse, which is 76% this year from 73% last year.

Businessmen want developed transport system which will reduce their supply cost, said Moazzem.

Governance is the weakest part of Bangladesh’s competitiveness as most of the indicators are still in either bad or worse category.

“Bangladesh is moving towards competitiveness but at a very slower pace while other countries are moving very fast,” Moazzem commented.

Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of CPD, suggested that Bangladesh needs focus more on productivity and skill development to increase competitive ability.

The GCR report will signal to the policy makers what they should concentrate on, he added.


Published in The Independent on Thursday, 29 September 2016

WEF Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017

Bangladesh moves up one step

Staff Reporter

Bangladesh has moved up one step in the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 of the World Economic Forum (WEF). It now ranks 106th among 138 countries this year.

The overall score, too, has also improved. It was up by 1.06 per cent, from last year’s 3.76 to 3.80.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), partner organisation of the WEF, yesterday (Wednesday) presented the report at the CIRDAP auditorium in the capital. The CPD conducted the Bangladesh chapter of the study.

Over 160 partner institutes, 14,000 executives from over 138 countries, participated to make the survey feasible. Executive opinion survey and rapid assessment survey used qualitative data, measuring seven points on the Likert Scale.

“The method of the survey tool, executive opinion survey (EOS), comprises 11 topics including infrastructure, technology, financial environment, foreign trade and investment, business operations and innovation, security, governance, education, health,” said the additional research director of the CPD, Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem, who was also the presenter at the briefing.

“Bangladesh has done comparatively well in the domestic sector. But could not do well in the global competitive business environment. Bangladesh is still an underperformer in the basic requirement sub-index, but the progress in ranking is noticeable. Here it moved up to the 105th position this year, as against previous year’s 109th,” he noted.

“In macroeconomic stability pillar, Bangladesh slid to 65th from the 49th position. Bangladesh has done well in terms of scoring indexes, but comparative ranking is not satisfactory at all,” the additional research director observed.

“This report reveals that businessmen are more concerned about cost of borrowing (interest rate) than availability of funds. They thought that electricity supply is comparatively less reliable. It is depicted as 51 per cent this year,” he said.

“Last year, the top problematic factors for doing business in Bangladesh was corruption, which scored 18.7. But this year, ‘inadequate supply of infrastructure’ got the top score of 20.4 and ranked as the top factor,” he added.

“Among the top 10 countries, Switzerland, Singapore and the United States held their previous positions and ranked as the top three countries,” he said.

“Among the South Asian countries, India has jumped from the 55th to the 39th position, which is remarkable. Good infrastructure is the prime reason behind it. Sri Lanka and Malaysia have moved back and ranked as 68 and 18, respectively, this year,” he added.

For Bangladesh, the other problematic factors were corruption (16.5), limited access of financing (9.8) and inefficient government of bureaucracy (9.6).

Entrepreneurs have observed only a little a progress in infrastructure facilities in 2015, except electricity.

“The problems that we unveil in this report need to be addressed if we (Bangladesh) want to graduate from the lower middle-income country to the higher-middle income country status,” said CPD executive director Prof. Mustafizur Rahman.

“In the technology sector, Bangladesh has improved a lot. The index ICT is improving access for all citizens to basic services. It has improved from ‘bad’ (57 per cent) last year to ‘good’ (40 per cent) this year,” he explained.





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