Doing Business: World Bank discontinues reports after irregularities found

World bank president talking about doing business discontinuation

World Bank Group has decided to discontinue ‘Doing Business’ reports that used to assess investment climate in countries after data irregularities were found in 2018 and 2020, reported news agency Reuters. In August 2020, World Bank paused the publication of Doing Business reports following a number of irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data.

The international financial institution later confirmed that the changes were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology. The World Bank has now said in a statement that a new approach will be worked out to assess countries’ business and investment climates after the irregularities raised ethical matters involving former bank staff and board officials, according to Reuters.

The irregularities had affected four countries: China; Saudi Arabia; United Arab Emirates; and Azerbaijan. According to the initial Doing Business 2018 report, China had a score of 65.3 with a global ranking of 78, similar to the previous year’s. After the corrections in data for indicators like Starting a Business, Getting Credit, and Paying Taxes indicators, China’s score fell to 64.5 and global ranking to 85.

“Taking as given the published data for all other countries, China’s global ranking in Doing Business 2018 would have been 85, a decline of 7 places relative to the previous year,” World Bank had said in a review report.

Economies like India, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, and Nigeria made notable improvements in the Doing Business 2020 report after they, according to the World Bank, implemented one-fifth of all the reforms in 2018-19 recorded worldwide.

In 2014, India was at 142nd position on the Ease of Doing Business Index and made significant improvements after the government launched an ambitious program of regulatory reforms. India moved to 63rd position on the report’s Ranking 2020.

Read World Bank’s full statement discontinuation of Doing Business: 

“Trust in the research of the World Bank Group is vital. World Bank Group research informs the actions of policymakers, helps countries make better-informed decisions, and allows stakeholders to measure economic and social improvements more accurately. Such research has also been a valuable tool for the private sector, civil society, academia, journalists, and others, broadening understanding of global issues.

After data irregularities on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 were reported internally in June 2020, World Bank management paused the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms.  

After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. The World Bank Group remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this. Going forward, we will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate. We are deeply grateful to the efforts of the many staff members who have worked diligently to advance the business climate agenda, and we look forward to harnessing their energies and abilities in new ways.”

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