The Financial Express

Consultation on WB's doing business report begins next week

| Updated: January 15, 2022 17:53:58

Consultation on WB's doing business report begins next week

The World Bank (WB) will start consultation next week with board members about designing replacement of its flagship 'Doing Business' report that evaluates business climate of the countries globally.

Publication of the 'Doing Business' report was suspended in September last year after an investigation found involvement of the bank's high-ups in data-rigging for Saudi Arabia and China.

WB president David Malpass in a recent letter to the bank's governors informed about his plan to start working in preparation for a successor to "Doing Business" report soon.

"We planned to closely consult with you and your representatives at 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 broad range of stakeholders around the world, he noted.

The 'Doing Business' report (DB) was introduced in 2003 and published every year from 2003 to 2019 unfolding the costs of doing business in 190 countries.

However, after the data irregularities were reported in the Doing Business reports of 2018 and 2020, the WB management paused preparation of the next Doing Business report and decided to discontinue further publication of the report.

The 'Doing Business' report had been analysing regulation that encourages efficiency and supports freedom to do business by documenting changes in regulation in 12 areas of business activity in 190 countries.

Bangladesh ranked 168th out of 190 in the Doing Business report 2020 of the WB, the last time it published.

Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh Dr Ahsan H Mansur told the FE the report might have some limitations but its fundamental approach was appropriate.

"I don't think there is a need to bring any major changes in the new approach the World Bank is planning as the report's successor," 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.

The Western nations do not want to recognise the performances of China. But the reality is that highest foreign direct investment goes to China, he said.

Question is there whether people who comprised with the ranking might have taken consideration the performance of China. "There must be a relation between output and ranking," added Mr Mansur.

"I found the report useful on the part of the World Bank Group and (it) should resume in some way," he said, adding any indicator can always be improved.

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