Getting electricity most difficult in Bangladesh: IFC

Bangladesh ranked last among 185 countries where it is hardest to get an electricity connection, reveals a survey by International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private sector lending arm of World Bank.

“Getting Electricity” is one of the 10 indicators in the IFC report “Doing Business 2013” that found it takes 404 days, involving nine procedures, to get electricity connection in Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh made getting electricity connection more difficult by requiring all customers to meet 7% of their electricity needs through solar energy, making it mandatory for all prospective customers to install solar panels,” read the report.

The report examined latest data from June 2012 on regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and protecting investors.

Overall, Bangladesh ranked 129th among 185 countries for the 2013 evaluation of the ease of doing business, slipping from its earlier 124th position for 2012 evaluation last year. In 2010, Bangladesh stood 118th for 2011 evaluation.

Ranking 5th among eight South Asian countries, Bangladesh is also falling back in other criteria such as registering property and enforcing contracts. It takes 1,442 days to enforce a contract, involving 41 procedures, says the report.

However, the report lauded Bangladesh Economy for improving the sharing of credit information by providing online access to data at credit registry or bureau. In this section, the country’s rank declined three notches to 83rd this year from last year’s 80th position.

Globally Singapore turned out to be the best on the ease of doing business for the seventh consecutive year.

The rest of the top ten are made up by Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States in the second, third and fourth positions followed by Denmark, Norway, United Kingdom, South Korea, Georgia and Australia.

Khondaker Golam Moazzem, senior research fellow of the Centre for Policy Dialogue, said the ranking reflects the business climate of the country.

"It shows there is nothing for the country's businesses to be enthusiastic. Making investment in the country is still not that encouraging," he told The Daily Star.

He said the poor ranking in the sub-indexes showed Bangladesh has problems in key areas such as infrastructure and credit facility.

Investment fell in the last fiscal year compared with the previous fiscal year and bank interest rates remained very high, he added.

"The government should strive to find ways to encourage investment, particularly from the private sector."

News Source: 
The Daily Star