Down two points in ranking
According to the World Bank's (WB) latest edition of business-environment ratings, the country slipped down two notches to rank 174 out of 189 countries globally. That it is now more difficult to 'start a business' and it is harder to get 'access to credit' speak volumes of the regulatory problems new enterprises and old ones face in the private sector. It is not a happy position to be in, especially when other countries in the region are doing much better than Bangladesh; India comes in at 130, earth-quake ridden Nepal landed at 99 and even violence-ridden Pakistan scored 138.
In spite of the government's assurance to ease the process of starting a business we have gone down in five indicators and remained static in the other five. It now takes 19.5 days to start a business in the country against an average of 15.7 days in other South Asian countries. Bangladesh is lagging behind because much-needed reforms that would significantly cut down lead times in dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes, etc. – all of which affect how fast a business can get up and running - have not come about.
It is critical for policymakers to take a closer look at the declining performance because such global benchmarks are what foreign investors refer to when considering the country to be a good place to invest in. A poor showing in rankings are indicative of a less-than-average performance on regulatory issues. Without serious reforms to improve business and investment climate, it would be futile to expect Bangladesh to draw investors both from home and abroad.