Bangladesh falls behind in global competitiveness
Thursday, 09 October 2008

Agency

Bangladesh has slipped four places from last year's ranking among 134 countries in the Global Competitive Report 2008-09 of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

Last year it was 107th. The United States topped the overall ranking. Switzerland is in second position followed by Denmark, Sweden and Singapore.
 
The report was globally released on Wednesday. Private research organisation the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) launched the report at a press briefing in Dhaka.
 
CPD executive director Mustafizur Rahman told reporters that Bangladesh's overall position fell in the Global Competitive Indices (GCI) used in the study.
 
"But then again it's just an opinion poll-based report," he added.
 
The CPD official said the process of transition to a democratic government would largely influence next year's economic growth.
 
CPD research fellow Khondaker Golam Moazzem presented the facts and findings of the WEF report.
 
"A falling GCI score for Bangladesh in majority of the indicators shows a declining performance both compared with previous years and also with respect to other countries," he said.
 
The study cited notable deterioration in health, primary education, market size, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, financial market sophistication, and higher education and training.
 
According to CPD's executive opinion poll which contributed to the WEF report, the reform measures the interim government took to enhance efficiency in public institutions did not have much of an impact.
 
"Lack of poor implementation and coordination between government and businesses might be the reason behind this," added Moazzem.
 
The CPD poll also found businesspeople were of the opinion that the government's anticorruption drive in 2007 had a negative impact on businesses.
 
The drive, however, was perceived somewhat successful in case of reducing the incidence of corruption and bribery in public institutions while indices of terrorism and vandalism reduced in the last year.
 
The report said development of ICT sector was sluggish and that the government was not prepared to implement ICT-related targets and goals.
 
On market conditions, the WEF study said competition in market suffered due to lack of appropriate policies in certain areas.
 
Citing the reduction in wage differences between male and female as a positive change, the report said some deterioration had been observed in 2007 in terms of labour-employer relationship.
 
CPD recommended an agriculture and food security commission in order to provide policy suggestions to the government to address the issue of food security.
 
The WEF study said businessmen perceived a slow growth in 2007 mainly because of high cost of doing business due to high inflation and interest rates, political uncertainty, and lack of coordination between businesses and the government.
 
It also said the business community was less optimistic about high growth of the country.
 
European economies continue to prevail in the top 10 with Finland, Germany and the Netherlands following suit.
 
The United Kingdom, while remaining very competitive, has dropped by three places and out of the top 10, mainly attributable to a weakening of its financial markets.
 
The rankings are calculated from both publicly available data and the Executive Opinion Survey, a comprehensive annual survey conducted by the World Economic Forum together with its network of Partner Institutes -- leading research institutes and business organisations -- in the countries covered by the report.

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