Press Releases

World Bank Group Releases Doing Business in South Asia 2007: Dhaka is the city with the most business-friendly regulations in Bangladesh

In Washington, D.C.
Nadine Ghannam
Phone: +1 (202) 458-0482 or +1 (202) 361-7798


In Bangladesh

S.M. Rezwan-ul-Alam  

Phone: +(880) 2815-9001 x4242  

Washington DC, February 13, 2007 – The  World Bank and its private sector arm, IFC, released today a new report entitled Doing Business in South Asia 2007 , which, for the first time, includes subnational data from Bangladesh. The report finds that out of the four major Bangladeshi cities covered in the study, Dhaka has the most business-friendly regulations, as measured by the Doing Business reports. By contrast, Bogra imposes the most complex and costly administrative barriers, while Chittagong and Khulna rank in between.

The report compares business regulations in the World Bank’s South Asia region with 175 economies around the world. The top-ranked countries in the region are the Maldives (53) and Pakistan (74), followed by Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (89), Nepal (100), India (134), Bhutan (138), and Afghanistan (162). This year, Bangladesh implemented reforms to simplify property registration.

Doing Business in South Asia 2007
is the third report in a series of reports on the region based on the methodology of the annual global Doing Business report. Doing Business tracks a set of regulatory indicators related to business start-up, operation, trade, payment of taxes, and closure by measuring the time and cost associated with various government requirements. It does not track variables such as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions, or crime rates.

Bangladesh recently improved the environment for businesses by introducing the land registration act (in force since July 1, 2005) to reduce fraud in land tenure. Despite improvements in the area of property registration—one of the 10 Doing Business indicators—Bangladesh can still do much better.

“Bangladesh could jump in the
international rankings if it simply adopted the best practices in business regulation that already exist within the country—from 88th to 62nd on the global Doing Business rankings. This would leave all other countries in the region, except the Maldives, behind,” said Caralee McLiesh, an author of the Doing Business in South Asia report.

Local regulations and different implementation of national-level regulations cause large differences in the ease of doing business among Bangladeshi cities. For example, in Dhaka it takes 13 procedures and 185 days to obtain a license, compared to 150 days and 15 procedures in Chittagong, and 146 days and 14 procedures in Bogra. Within Bangladesh, it is fastest to start a businesses in Khulna and Bogra (30 days), compared to Dhaka and Chittagong, where it takes a week longer (37 days).

“Although the variations within the country are less significant for Bangladesh than for India and Pakistan, local authorities can still learn from each other in several areas of business regulation. In Khulna, for example, resolving a commercial dispute through the courts is faster than other cities, but at 1,373 days it still requires almost four years,” said Simon Bell, World Bank Manager for Financial and Private Sector Development in South Asia.

Indicator City with best score on  indicator
1 Starting a business Bogra, Khulna
2 Dealing with licenses Bogra
3 Employing workers  No regional variation
4 Registering property Bogra, Chittagong
5 Getting credit  No regional variation
6 Protecting investors  No regional variation
7 Paying taxes  No regional variation
8 Trading across borders Chittagong
9 Enforcing contracts Khulna
10 Closing a business Dhaka

Current global ranking of of Bangladesh: 88
Hypothetical ranking after adopting Bangladesh best practices: 62


The Doing Business project is based on the efforts of more than 5,000 local experts – business consultants, lawyers, accountants, government officials, and leading academics around the world, who provide methodological support and review. The data, methodology, and names of contributors are publicly available online.

For more information on the Doing Business report series, please visit:
For copies of the Doing Business in South Asia report, please visit: