In the recent Centre for Policy Dialogue survey on business environment, entrepreneurs mentioned corruption as the main challenge. They also pointed out the inefficiency of the administration as another issue. There is no denying that the CPD survey paints an accurate picture of business challenges and yesterday's global survey published by the Transparency International Bangladesh (TIB) reinforces that.
According to the TIB survey, Bangladesh is at the bottom of the list with 26 points out of 100. Corruption is not declining here, but is increasing along with the economic growth. Government officials are more focused on personal interests and they do not want to serve if there are no benefits for them.
We have to pay to get almost every kind of service here, although it is supposed to be free. This is due to the fact that we do not properly evaluate the merit of things here. People in the administration have to pay bribes to get their jobs. They have to pay bribes for transfers. So to recoup that money, the same people have opted for corruption. They hold on to files. The government is giving them a lot of opportunities now. Other benefits, including salaries for government employees, have increased. However, corruption has not decreased.
Another reason behind corruption in the country is the lack of skills. Business persons have to go from place to place because there are no right people in the right places. You have to resort to corruption. However, both sides are responsible for the corruption. People get involved in corruption in order to get ahead of others to do their work. This isn't exclusive to business persons, it happens in everyone's case.
The challenge of financing has improved. Bank interest rates have come down to single digits. Getting a loan is also being facilitated. Gradually it will become easier.
Dr Ahsan H Mansur is the Executive Director of Policy Research Institute of Bangladesh