Business report

Consultation on World Bank’s Doing Business report begins next week

| Update:
January 15, 2022 5:53:58 PM

The World Bank (WB) will begin consultations next week with board members on the design of the replacement for its flagship “Doing Business” report that assesses the business climate of countries globally.

Publication of the ‘Doing Business’ report was suspended in September last year after an investigation revealed the involvement of senior bank officials in rigging data for Saudi Arabia and China.

World Bank President David Malpass, in a recent letter to the bank’s governors, informed of his intention to start work on preparing a successor to the “Doing Business” report soon.

“We plan to consult closely with you and your representatives on our board as we design the new approach,” he wrote.

Mr. Malpass further wrote that the first consultation meeting to this effect will take place in mid-January.

The bank intends to consult on the design of this product with a wide range of stakeholders around the world, he noted.

The Doing Business (DB) report was introduced in 2003 and published annually from 2003 to 2019, revealing the costs of doing business in 190 countries.

However, after the data irregularities were flagged in the 2018 and 2020 Doing Business reports, World Bank management suspended the preparation of the next Doing Business report and decided to discontinue publication of the report.

The Doing Business report analyzed regulation that encourages efficiency and supports the freedom to do business by documenting regulatory changes in 12 areas of business activity in 190 countries.

Bangladesh ranked 168th out of 190 in the World Bank’s 2020 Doing Business report, the last time it was released.

The executive director of the Bangladesh Policy Research Institute, Dr Ahsan H Mansur, told FE that the report might have some limitations, but its fundamental approach was appropriate.

“I don’t think there is a need for major changes to the new approach that the World Bank plans to follow the report,” he said.

Mr. Mansur pointed out that the report has become a political problem and also a reputational problem for some countries; thus some of them might have influenced the process.

Western nations do not want to recognize China’s performance. But the reality is that the largest foreign direct investment goes to China, he said.

The question is whether the people who participated in the rankings could have taken China’s performance into account. “There must be a relationship between production and ranking,” Mr. Mansur added.

“I found the report useful from the World Bank Group and (it) should pick up one way or another,” he said, adding that any indicator can always be improved.

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