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Bangladesh govt’s inability hampers dev, job growth: HF
Sunday, 19 February 2017

Bangladesh has scored poorly in terms of the government’s integrity in the economic freedom index 2017 that has placed the country at 128th out of 186 economies.

The US Heritage Foundation, in its index report released on Wednesday, observed, “The fragile rule of law continues to undermine economic development in Bangladesh.”

In the ‘government integrity’ category, the country is given a score of 19.1 points, much lower than Bangladesh’s average score of 55 points in a scale of 100 in the index.

In two other components of ‘rule of law’ in the index, the country scored 34.9 points in ‘property rights’ and 26 points in ‘judicial effectiveness’.

“Corruption and marginal enforcement of property rights drive people and enterprises into the informal economy and poor economic management, worsened by repeated political crises, severely constrains economic dynamism,” the Heritage Foundation mentioned in the literature of the report.

It added, “The government’s inability to provide even minimal public goods further limits opportunities for business development and job growth.”

The country also scored poorly in financial freedom -- at 30 points. However, in two other components of ‘open markets’, Bangladesh’s score is close to average, 50, points in investment freedom and 63.6 points in trade freedom.

“Despite some streamlining of business regulations, entrepreneurial activity is hampered by an uncertain regulatory environment and the absence of effective institutional support for private-sector development,” the report pointed out.

It also recognised that despite the political turmoil, a decade of fairly rapid economic growth has contributed to progress against persistent poverty in the country.

The 2017 index apparently shows certain progress in Bangladesh’s ranking. In 2016 index, the country was in 137th position out of 178 countries.

Bangladesh also fared better than India (143rd), Pakistan (141st), the Maldives (157th), and Afghanistan (163rd). However, the country is behind Sri Lanka (112th), Nepal (125th) and Bhutan (107th).

The United States has hit a record low in 2017 as the nation dropped out of the top 15 countries and declined to 17th place, amid controversies since campaigning by the current president Donald Trump.

Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand topped the list with respective scores of 89.8, 88.6 and 83.7.

China with a score of 57.4 points, an increase of 5.4 points compared to previous year, was placed at 111th position.