When it comes to economic freedom, Bangladesh ranks 128 out of 186 countries, according to the latest Index of Economic Freedom published by the Heritage Foundation.
Surely we can do better.
There is a silver lining though -- Bangladesh is up nine places from last year, and is therefore on the right track.
While it is laudable that we have made great strides in tax policy, fiscal policy, and government spending, we are still being held back by fragile rule of law, lack of freedom of doing business, and lack of openness of the market.
We must now focus on making improvements in the areas that undermine our economic freedom.
This means establishing a stable rule of law, and the reform and proper enforcement of property laws.
A properly functioning labour market must be developed, so that labour productivity does not lag behind.
There must also be in place effective and efficient procedures for contract enforcement and dispute settlement -- people are often afraid to engage in business activity because they feel they may be cheated out of what is rightfully theirs.
Widespread corruption and criminality, lack of transparency in bureaucratic proceedings, and political polarisation continue to undermine the many business successes Bangladesh has achieved.
The dynamism of the Bangladesh economy is nothing if not admirable, with the country poised to overtake Malaysia by 2050 according to a recent study -- but to get there, it is imperative to free up the entrepreneurial instincts of our people.
Let us improve our economic freedom to unlock the nation’s true potential.