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WB Group Suspends Publication of Doing Business Report 2021

The World Bank Group has postponed the release of the Doing Business Report 2021, following reports of irregularities with respect to changes in the data used in the previous 2018 and 2020 reports.

Pakistan was rated 147th among 190 countries after slipping by three places in the 2018 Doing Business report; however, the country jumped to 108th with 11 places in Doing Business 2019 and 28 places in Doing Business 2020 and was identified as one of the economies with major improvements.

Recently, the World Bank Group issued a statement, “A number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.”

The Doing Business Report has been a valuable tool over the 17 years of its life for countries trying to calculate the cost of doing business. Doing business metrics and methodology are developed without consideration of a particular region, but rather to help improve the overall business environment, the statement added.

As per the Doing Business 2020, in 2019 Pakistan jumped from 136 in 2018 to 28 places in a global ranking of 108 while large-scale manufacturing declined by 3.37% productivity in 2018-19.

Upon questioning this newspaper how the WB could reconcile the major improvements in Pakistan’s business-friendly rating while the World Bank Country Director for Pakistan at the time Illango Patchamuthu said that rating countries on business-friendliness will take into account next year’s prevailing economic situation.

In addition, the Patchamuthu said that the ease of doing business is composed of components that capture incremental changes every year and is focused on expectations of the government and the private sector being de-regulated. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) sector are more reflective and indicative of market indicators.

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