Business climate improves
It is good to see that Bangladesh's position has improved by two points in the prestigious Economic Intelligence Unit's (EIU) 'Business Environment Rankings, South Asia.' Although Bangladesh trails other South Asian countries like India and Sri Lanka, it has now come up to the 69th position in 2014 in terms of 'investment friendly' destination in a survey that encompassed 82 nations. India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have seen their rankings slip a few notches over this period. The EIU forecast measures not only past data but also expectations for the future.
That the quality of investor-friendly location has improved for the country is undoubtedly favourable news, in light of the greater interest being shown in the country by a number of regional trade initiatives that have been unfolding. Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) initiative is entering a serious phase and Bangladesh is outlined as a “hub” in the recently launched Maritime Silk Road.
Our Achilles heel remains the sorry state of infrastructure, without which serious foreign direct investment will not be forthcoming. A total of ten indicators are taken into account to judge a country's overall performance. Major indicators that keep the country from performing better are political instability and unwieldy laws and regulations that govern FDI. Regardless of how strategically placed Bangladesh may be in the geo-economic conditions from a regional point of view, the fact remains that much remains to be done on fixing basic staples including power, road, rail and water links before our ranking can improve substantially.