The World Bank Group has suspended publication of the Doing Business report 2021 after irregularities were reported regarding changes to the data used in the previous reports of 2018 and 2020.
Pakistan was ranked 147th among 190 countries after dropping three places in the Doing Business 2018 report, however, the country jumped by 11 places in Doing Business 2019 and 28 places in Doing Business 2020 reaching 108th and was listed among the economies with notable improvement.
A statement issued by the World Bank Group read,
A number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology.
Over the 17 years of its existence, the Doing Business report has been a valued tool for countries seeking to measure the costs of doing business. Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed with no single country in mind, but rather to help to improve the overall business climate, it added.
The Group stated,
A number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology. The integrity and impartiality of our data and analysis are paramount and so we are immediately taking the following actions; we are conducting a systematic review and assessment of data changes that occurred subsequent to the institutional data review process for the last five Doing Business reports; we have asked the World Bank Group’s independent Internal Audit function to perform an audit of the processes for data collection and review for Doing Business and the controls to safeguard data integrity. We will act based on the findings and will retrospectively correct the data of countries that were most affected by the irregularities. The Board of Executive Directors of the World Bank has been briefed on the situation as have the authorities of the countries that were most affected by the data irregularities. The publication of the Doing Business report will be paused as we conduct our assessment.
According to Doing Business 2020, Pakistan jumped 28 places to a global ranking of 108 in 2019 on the ease of doing business index compared to 136 in 2018 when large scale manufacturing declined by 3.37 percent productivity in 2018-19.