Published on Let's Talk Development

What are the top obstacles for Bangladeshi businesses?

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One of the primary goals of the Enterprise Surveys is to provide high quality data about the business environment based on establishments’ actual day-to-day experiences. This provides much needed information given how little is known about what businesses experience in developing economies. To raise awareness of the recently released Bangladesh 2013 Enterprise Survey, we provide a few highlights of the surveys below. 

The Bangladesh 2013 Enterprise Survey consists of face-to-face interviews with 1,442 firms across Dhaka, Chittagong, Rajshahi and Khulna. Fieldwork was carried out between April and September 2013, with survey questions referencing the 2012 fiscal year. This post will focus on a couple of highlights. For the full survey highlights please see the Bangladesh 2013 Country Highlights document.
The 2013 Enterprise Survey indicates a high degree of capacity utilization in the manufacturing sector. As seen in Figure 1 below, large manufacturing firms can be credited for the bulk of the capacity utilization.
Figure 1: Bangladeshi manufacturing firms report very high levels of capacity utilization

However, female inclusion in economic activity in terms of labor force employment, participation in ownership, and managerial position lags behind. The female participation averages for all Enterprise Surveys economies, as well as low income economies are much higher than Bangladesh as indicated in the figure below:
Figure 2: Female inclusion in economic activity lags behind most countries


Another key highlight of the survey is that out of 15 aspects of business environment, Bangladeshi firms tend to rate political instability as biggest obstacle to daily operations, followed by electricity. These findings are unsurprising given the recent civil unrest.
Figure 3: The Bangladeshi private sector considers political instability as the biggest business environment obstacle.

For a full range of indicators please visit the Bangladesh 2013 economy snapshot in the Enterprise Surveys website. The raw survey data can also be obtained here after registration. Please feel free to provide comments, specifically for our Country Highlights


Arvind Jain

Private Sector Development Specialist, World Bank

Asif Islam

Senior Economist, Office of the Chief Economist, Middle East and North Africa Region, The World Bank

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