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Business Corruption in Bangladesh

Bangladesh routinely finds itself among the most corrupt countries in the world, according to all major ranking institutions. The amendment of the Criminal Procedure Code Ordinance separated the judiciary from the executive branch of the government, securing the legal framework for an independent judiciary. Administrative efficiency of public services was improved drastically, and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) was reinforced as the main institutional watchdog. The Whistle-blower Protection Bill promises to conceal information providers' identities and to protect those who provide graft information of different directories, departments and ministries. Once passed, the law will also help combat institutional corruption and ensure good governance. However, the Anti-Corruption Commission Act was amended and passed by Paliament in November 2013, weakening the ACC in the process. One provision of the amendment requires the ACC to seek permission from the government before investigating state officials.

However, companies should note progress against corruption has stalled and has perhaps regressed due to the unwillingness of the new government to curb the corruption rampant in public procurement, in tax and customs collection and in regulatory authorities. Companies report being subjected to costly and unnecessary licence and permit requirements, while e-governance is not yet developed in Bangladesh. Face-to-face encounters with public officials are therefore inevitable and facilitate the solicitation of bribes. Awards of public and private tenders are frequently marred by corruption allegations. Political leaders, who themselves are often actively involved in businesses, collude with bureaucrats in public contracting to beneficiate particular bidders at the expense of other investors, thereby creating an uneven playing field.