Bangladesh has scored slightly higher in a global ranking that measures the individual’s liberty to take economic actions, although its position remained unchanged.
Bangladesh’s ranking remained same at 128 but the score rose slightly to 55.1 points in the 2018 Index of Economic Freedom, published by the Heritage Foundation on Friday.
The increase was fuelled by judicial effectiveness and government integrity. However, the country showed poor performance in property rights and business, labour and trade freedom, the report said.
“Bangladesh’s economic freedom score is 55.1, making its economy the 128th freest in the 2018 Index. Its overall score has increased by 0.1 point, with improvements in the scores for judicial effectiveness and government integrity outpacing declines in property rights, trade freedom, and labour freedom,” said the report.
In the last report, Bangladesh scored 55 points ranking 128th among 186 countries.
In the Asia–Pacific region, Bangladesh is ranked 29th among 43 countries and its overall score is below the regional and world averages. Bangladesh’s score is 55.1, while the Asia-Pacific regional average score is 61 and global average is 61.1.
Implementation of government efforts to create a better business environment has been slow, the report said. Obtaining electricity is becoming simpler but remains problematic. Non-tariff barriers impede trade, said the report.
Score of business freedom came down to 52.1 from 53.4.
In terns of rule of law, Bangladesh has seen a downward trend in poverty rights as its score went down to 32.4 point from 34.9 point.
Property laws are antiquated, record-keeping systems are poor, and property rights are enforced unevenly. Corruption and criminality, weak rule of law, limited bureaucratic transparency, and political polarization have undermined government accountability, said the report adding that the judiciary is not independent.
Corruption and marginal enforcement of property rights force workers and small businesses into the informal economy. Anti corruption efforts are weakened by politicized enforcement and subversion of the judicial process, it adds.
Freedom of labour also saw a negative trend; the score came down to 66.4 from 68.7 last year.
Enforcement of applicable labour law lacks consistency, unions are heavily politicized and labour–management relations remain adversarial, the report mentioned.
On government regulatory efficiency, the report said government openness to foreign investment is less than average. While, amendments to the Bank Companies Act, intended to strengthen the central bank’s independence and reduce special treatment of the state owned commercial banks, have been implemented.
Despite some streamlining of business regulations, entrepreneurial activity is also hampered by an uncertain regulatory environment and the absence of effective institutional support for private-sector development, it added.
Among other South Asian countries, Nepal ranked 133th, Sri Lanka 111th, Bhutan 87th, India 130th, Pakistan 131st and the Maldives 155th.
Hong Kong and Singapore each logged increases in their Index scores, finishing first and second in the rankings for the 24th consecutive year.
The Index evaluates countries in four broad policy areas that affect economic freedom: rule of law; government size; regulatory efficiency; and open markets.
Property rights, judicial effectiveness, government integrity, tax burden, government spending, fiscal health, business freedom, labor freedom, monetary freedom, trade freedom, investment freedom, and financial freedom are taken into account in measuring economic freedom of a country.