ADB approves grant to improve Bangladesh’s business competitiveness, intraregional trade

Publish: 6:54 PM, December 17, 2020 | Update: 6:54:PM, December 17, 2020

DHAKA, – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $0.5 million in grant assistance for supporting knowledge works to promote business competitiveness and intraregional trade of Bangladesh.

The assistance is additional to an earlier grant of $2 million approved in 2018 for creating innovative knowledge solutions on strategic issues for Bangladesh’s economic transformation, said an ADB press release. “In addition to export diversification and enhanced domestic resource mobilization, Bangladesh needs to significantly increase foreign direct investment and intraregional trade to further propel the ongoing growth and development,” said Country Director Manmohan Parkash.

“Bangladesh has immense opportunities to make significant progress in the Doing Business indicators since its current ranking is only 168 out of 190 economies,” he said. Parkash said the countries that score high on doing business rankings have several common features such as sound business regulation with a high degree of transparency, and widespread use of digital systems.

He also said Bangladesh can gain significantly by modernizing its property registration system, as well as improving online business incorporation procedures, tax filing system, and contract enforcement system. Noting that the government is keen to improve its Doing Business ranking, Parkash said, “The knowledge assistance will help prepare actionable policy recommendations for improving the Doing Business ranking of Bangladesh to attract companies, industries, and foreign direct investments.”

The ADB Country Director said it will also help develop high quality knowledge and policy tools to identify investment, and supply chain opportunities for Bangladesh to promote intraregional trade with the countries under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) initiative.

Conceived through extensive consultations with the government, business community and other stakeholders, the comprehensive policy interventions will deal with critical issues such as starting up a business, getting construction permits, accessing electricity connections, registering property, accessing credit, tax payment, and contract enforcement.

Studies on economic corridor development, augmenting the capacity of the investment development agency and related government departments as well as the business community will be prioritized for support under the assistance. The release said Bangladesh needs to significantly improve in many indicators of the Doing Business ranking in order to catch up with other regional countries, including China and India that have progressed in their rankings in recent years.

The indicators that need immediate attention for improvement in Bangladesh include enforcing contracts (rank 189), registering property (184), getting electricity (176), trading across borders (176), resolving insolvency (154), paying taxes (151), dealing with construction permits (135), starting a business (131), and getting credit (rank 119).