Commentary

Bangladesh remains at ‘high’ risk of business bribery

20 November 2021
Bangladesh remains at ‘high’ risk of business bribery


Editorial Desk :
A report published in a national daily on Friday said that Bangladesh still presents the highest bribery risk among all South Asian countries after Afghanistan, slipping one notch down to 167th position this year. It also fared poorly in measures taken to discourage bribery and anti-bribery enforcement, said TRACE's 2021 Bribery Risk Matrix report, which has measured bribery risk in 194 economies. TRACE, headquartered in the United States and registered in Canada with a presence on five continents, is a globally recognised business association dedicated to anti-bribery, compliance and good governance and leading provider of shared-cost third party risk management solutions. Members and clients include over 500 multinational companies located worldwide.
High expectation of bribery among government officials when interacting with businesses, coupled with a high regulatory burden, has repeatedly made Bangladesh a country with a "high" risk of business bribery. Echoing, a top leader of the Bangladesh Knitwear Manufacturer and Exporters Association said that their experience is worse than what the report states. They have to pay bribes at every step. "If we pay the bribe, then
    
everything is fine. If we don't, then there will be hassles in each step." As a result, the cost of production is increasing and the ease of doing business is worsening. Another top leader of Dhaka Chamber of Commerce and Industry said it is hard to do work without paying bribes. Although this increases the cost of business, many people choose this path to make their work easier.
In South Asia, Bangladesh has consistently been named a "high-risk" country on the TRACE's Bribery Matrix since 2014. Afghanistan and Pakistan are also the countries where the bribery risk is categorised as "high". It is followed by Bhutan (62nd), India (82nd), Sri Lanka (92nd), Nepal (112th), and the Maldives (118th). Similar to last year's findings, Afghanistan retained its place in having the highest business bribery risk in the region.  The war-torn Afghanistan ranked 174th globally, followed by Bangladesh (176)) and Pakistan (150th). North European countries have been ranked among the nations where the level of business bribery risk is "very low", while North Korea, Turkmenistan, Eritrea, Venezuela and Somalia were found to have the highest business bribery risk globally.
The cycle of impunity for business bribery needs to be eliminated supported by a strong legal framework, law enforcement and an independent and effective court system.

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