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SAM

Published:
2018-10-18 07:43:05 BdST

Graft remains key problem for businesses: CPD


FT ONLINE

Corruption remains the most problematic factor for doing business in Bangladesh followed by inadequate infrastructure and inefficient bureaucracy, according to a study.

Access to finances, policy instability, high tax rates and complex tax regulations are also the major concerns of the businesses.

The Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a local think tank, came up with the findings in a 'Rapid Assessment Survey' known as the Bangladesh Business Environment Study-2018.

The findings of the study were disseminated at a press briefing organised in CIRDAP Auditorium in Dhaka on Wednesday.

CPD research director Dr Khondaker Golam Moazzem presented the report.

CPD distinguished fellow Prof Mustafizur Rahman and executive director Dr Fahmida Khatun also spoke.

The report also revealed that press freedom in the country has deteriorated this year compared with last year with the introduction of new laws.

Around 64 per cent of the respondents comprising entrepreneurs from different sectors said new laws might limit the independence of journalism here.

Nearly 49 per cent of those questioned expressed the same perception a year earlier.

Presenting the findings, Mr Moazzem said weak institutions and challenges of governance have slowed down the country's overall competitiveness globally.

The respondents' perception deteriorated with regard to limited freedom of press, difficulty in challenging government actions and regulations.

They also pointed to weak legal framework for adopting digital business model, prevalence of bribes to tax authorities and poor agricultural policy.

Mr Moazzem said, "Corruption once again becomes the most problematic factor despite some improvement in perception while inadequate infrastructure continues to be a major concern."

Around 63 per cent of the businesses are doubtful about effective monitoring of the banking sector and 64 per cent about complexity in tax system.

The CPD researcher said 61 per cent of the respondent perceived that money laundering has increased.

Entrepreneurs also saw positive changes like long-term vision for development, access to information on policy changes and less distortive effect of subsidies.

They also highlighted inefficient judicial system for setting disputes and poor corporate ethics, Mr Moazzem mentioned.

Despite slow progress, technological readiness, ICT-led education, training and business are getting popular as good signs, he said.

The CPD recommended setting up a 'Technology Upgrading Fund' to train and educate workers for the technology-driven industries.

In terms of the implementation of fast-track development projects like Padma Bridge, 46 per cent of the respondents are somewhat satisfied.

About 46 per cent of the entrepreneurs think there will be no adverse effect on investment ahead of the general election.

They, however, predict negative effects on production, export, employment and remittance flow.

The Rohingya influx into the country will have a negative impact on public finances in 2018, according to 59 per cent of the respondents.

Mr Moazzem said businesses here are suffering for a lack of efficient management professionals, skilled manpower and less use of advanced technologies.

Bangladesh's advancement in global competitiveness lies on major overhauling in public institutions to make them more efficient, transparent and accountable, he added.

This year, 83 respondents represented the sectors-services 43 (52 per cent), industry 30 (36 per cent), agriculture nine (11 per cent) and mixed one (1.0 per cent).

The CPD conducted the survey, being a local partner of the World Economic Forum (WEF), to prepare the Global Competitiveness Report-2018.

Bangladesh has dropped by one notch to 103rd out of 140 countries in the global competitiveness index for its poor competitiveness in most of the indicators.

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