IFC Seminar Promotes Competition to Help Control Costs and Reduce Poverty in Bangladesh
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute held a seminar on competition policy to highlight best practices and identify potential sectors in Bangladesh for assessment. This will support the government’s efforts to form a competition policy, helping control costs and reduce poverty.
Research by the World Bank Group suggests that economies with intense competition in domestic markets have higher growth rates and lower levels of poverty. Open and fair competition can also increase domestic investment and attract foreign direct investment. Successful enterprises become stronger and more competitive in domestic and international markets.
“An effective competition policy is important to help regulate the market and promote growth and economic development. It will also help the government curb corruption, improve governance, and reduce poverty,” said Farooq Sobhan, President of the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute. The policy will offer a level playing field for businesses, ensuring consistency and guidance, he added.
“Good policy enables fair market practices, prevents random price hikes, reduces the need for short-term public policy mitigations, and prevents businesses from gaining advantages or engaging in unfair practices,” said R. Shyam Khemani, World Bank Group Competition Policy Advisor.
The government indicated its intent to pass a law on competition in its latest poverty reduction strategy, but there is not yet a clearly defined policy. Hence, the seminar highlighted the importance of instituting a comprehensive law and policy framework for competition. This was supported by public and private sector representatives, as well as NGOs and donor organizations. The seminar also addressed the importance of better education and dissemination of public information.
“The competition process is not automatic. It needs to be maintained, protected, and promoted through effective laws and policies,” said Syed Akhtar Mahmood, Senior Manager, IFC Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund.
The initiative was led by the IFC Bangladesh Investment Climate Fund and the Bangladesh Enterprise Institute. IFC will work with the government to assess competition in several sectors in the coming months.
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