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Bangladesh’s competitiveness is eroding owing to weakening macroeconomic stability, deterioration of labour market conditions, lack of ICT adoption and inadequate progress in infrastructure, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) 2019. The country’s position slipped two notches to 105th in this year, according to the GCI, which was unveiled yesterday by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), a partner of the WEF.

The index maps the competitiveness landscape of 141 economies through 103 indicators organised into 12 themes. Each indicator, using a scale from 0 to 100, shows how close an economy is to the ideal state or “frontier” of competitiveness, with 100 representing an optimal situation.

The pillars, which cover broad socio-economic elements, are: institutions, infrastructure, ICT adoption, macroeconomic stability, health, skills, product market, labour market, the financial system, market size, business dynamism and innovation capability. The report showed that Bangladesh’s competiveness declined in 10 out of 12 pillars. Significant deterioration in ranks was observed in case of macroeconomic stability, labour market, ICT adoption, and

The GCI 2019, which has been prepared based on secondary data and survey among businesses, said institution and governance are the weakest areas in business competiveness and businesses perceived that the majority of the indicators had deteriorated. Some 77 entrepreneurs took part in the survey. As many as 78 percent of the participants said bribe is somewhat a usual practice to get public contracts, said Moazzem, adding that 76 percent of the entrepreneurs said the use of bribe is somewhat common in export and import.

A high percentage of them complained of expectations of bribe in connection with tax payments and low ethical standards of politicians. “The extent of corruption has further increased. This has squeezed the scope for doing business particularly for the new entrants and micro, small and medium enterprises.”

Corruption has become a major burden for businesses, which reduce competitiveness both in local and global markets. The GCI 2019 said entrepreneurs’ perception has deteriorated in 11 out of 19 indicators. Businesses also complained of ‘illegal’ diversion of public fund and distorting fiscal measures for competition, according to the GCI.

The GCI 2019 ranked Singapore as the most competitive economy, followed by the US and Hong Kong. Chad has been ranked as the least competitive economy among the 141 countries surveyed. 

Source: The Daily star, 10.10.2019