Bangladesh’s economic freedom rank remains unchanged, improves slightly

Bangladesh’s rank on the Economic Freedom Index has remained unchanged at 128th out of 180 countries, according to an annual report released by The Heritage Foundation, a US conservative think-tank.

The country’s score, however, rose by 0.1 point to 55.1 on the 2018 index from last year, helped by rising scores in judicial effectiveness and government integrity. The economy was categorised as ‘mostly unfree’.

The study notes a decline in the score for property rights, trade freedom and labour freedom.

The index measures the degree to which countries are organised under a free market system.

The index uses four broad categories for measurement: rule of law (which includes property rights, government integrity, judicial effectiveness), government size (which includes government spending, tax burden, fiscal health), regulatory efficiency (which includes business freedom, labour freedom, monetary freedom) and open markets (trade freedom, investment freedom, financial freedom).

The report says Bangladesh’s economy experiences the effects of prolonged political instability, poor infrastructure, endemic corruption, insufficient power supply and slow economic reforms.

“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,” the report said.

The world average for the score is 61.6 percent. Bangladesh is ranked 29th among the 43 Asia Pacific countries in the report.

Bangladesh did, however, score higher than India and some other countries in South Asia. India ranked 130th, with an overall score of 54.5, Pakistan was 131st with a score of 54.4 and Nepal was 133rd with a score of 54.1.

Bhutan ranked above Bangladesh at 87th, with a score of 61.8 while Sri Lanka ranked 111th with a score of 57.8.

Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland, Australia, Ireland, Estonia, the UK, Canada and the UAE made up the top 10.