Bangladesh Improves Business Climate, but More Remains to Be Done

Bangladesh carried out three business reforms during the past year, the most in a decade, and would need to accelerate the reform pace to further improve its regional and global competitiveness, the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2020 study says.

The country rose to a rank of 168th in the global ease of doing business rankings this year from 176th in the previous year.

The highlights of the three recent reforms include:

  • Setting up a new business became less expensive with the reduction of registration and name clearance fees and removal of the certifying fee for digital certificates.
  • In Dhaka, obtaining an electrical connection was made more efficient as the city invested in digitization and human capital. At the same time, the country reduced the amount of the security deposit required for a new connection.
  • Access to credit information was improved thanks to expanded coverage by the credit information bureau. This reform delivered Bangladesh’s most significant improvement.

“Improving the business environment is essential for Bangladesh to support private sector development, which will create more jobs and foster sustainable economic growth,” said Mercy Miyang Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh. “It would be important for Bangladesh to build on the recent achievement and further accelerate regulatory reform efforts to continue to improve the business climate.”

The reforms enacted this year followed three years of inactivity. With 15 reforms since the inception of the Doing Business study in 2003/04, Bangladesh lags considerably behind other economies in South Asia.

Bangladesh ranks next to last globally on the enforcing contracts indicator and 184 out of 190 on the registering property indicator. Transferring a property title in Bangladesh takes on average 271 days, almost six times longer than the global average of 47 days. Resolving a commercial dispute through a local first-instance court takes on average 1,442 days, almost three times more than the 590 days average among OECD high-income economies.

To connect a new building to an electrical grid, a business needs to complete nine procedures, the most not only in the region, but also globally. Only two other economies in the world require nine steps to obtain a connection.