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Thursday, November 1, 2007

Congratulations for Crown of Corporate Corruption

Daily star reports
Bribing of high-ranking politicians, political parties, and senior bureaucrats by businessmen rose substantially last year, bringing the country's ranking in Global Competitive Index (GCI) 2007-'08 down by 15 places compared to its ranking in 2006.According to the World Economic Forum (WEF) report released yesterday, Bangladesh ranked 107th out of 131 countries this year while in 2006 its ranking was 92 out of 125 countries.Bangladesh also slid down by 19 positions in the Business Competitiveness Index (BCI) of 2007, ranking 118th compared to its last year's ranking of 99."Undocumented payments for awarding of public contracts were widespread in the country and the situation further aggravated," said the WEF report which was released here by the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD). "It is frustrating that all the survey results are giving negative indications. It's not good for the economy," CPD Executive Director Mustafizur Rahman said at a news briefing while disclosing the report.He identified rampant corruption in the country, inefficient bureaucracy, poor infrastructure, and policy instability as the main reasons for the bleak business environment.The global report was based on perceptions of top executives of business organisations in 131 countries. The report placed India in 48th position in the GCI, while the positions of Pakistan, Sri Lanka, China, and Vietnam are 92nd, 70th, 34th, and 68th respectively.Among the South Asian countries India ranked 31st in the BCI, while Pakistan and Sri Lanka ranked 79th and 52nd respectively.The chapter on Bangladesh was prepared by CPD in collaboration with WEF through interviewing 99 top Bangladeshi business executives during the period between February 2006 and January 2007.About 60 percent of the businessmen interviewed for the report perceived that undocumented extra payments or bribes from one private firm to another to secure businesses are very common in Bangladesh, and the practice is spreading. The report said although the corporate ethics of Bangladesh changed a bit, they are still among the world's worst.It went on to say that bribes are also common in connection with public utilities, export-import, and annual public contracts. A similar situation prevails in annual tax payments too.The issues considered for the global perception survey included government and public institutions, infrastructure, innovation and technology, financial environment, business operation and sophistication, education and human capital, and corruption."In terms of all indicators, Bangladesh's ranking has slid down considerably," the report said. Bangladesh is among the bottom 10 countries in terms of institutional efficiency where it ranked 126th, in higher education and training its ranking is also 126th, while in technological readiness it ranked 125th. Bangladesh's rank is relatively better regarding its market size putting it in the 36th position, in financial market sophistication it ranked 75th, while in terms of labour market efficiency its ranking is 76th, the report said.Referring to the business environment in the country, the report said a very low level of public trust in financial honesty of politicians, and favouritism of government officials for well connected firms and individuals while deciding policies and contracts -- are the key reasons for the country's poor performance in the BCI.Mustafizur Rahman, however, was optimistic about the country's performance in next year's GCI as the present government already had taken some reform measures. "We hope to get a better picture in the GCI of 2008," he said. A sense of apprehension and uncertainty prevails among businessmen, he said adding, "However, if the initiatives taken by the government work properly, it might give us better results."
So there is a difference between waking up and being enlightened. 'ghum theke otha ar jaga ek kotha noy'. So we should wake up if we still have not, and if we have waken up, its time to get enlightened. The way ACC and the joint forces are installing themselves in various government offices, who knows when they start knocking the doors of Bangladeshi corporates. Well it will help to some extent to clean the corporate corruption prevailing in the country, how do we cleanse the minds of the corrupt Bangladeshi managers and bosses?

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