The World Bank on Thursday rested its ‘Doing Business’ ranking that was used to assess investment opportunities across the world after its executives were found to have manipulated compilation data to favor China and Saudi Arabia in 2018 and 2020.
In a report seen by Peoples Gazette on Friday, the bank accused former staff and board members of unethical practices that led to the artificial doctoring of data to favor countries including China and Saudi Arabia. The United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan were also affected by the alleged misconduct.
The 2018 ease of doing business report had scored China 65.3 with a global ranking of 78. But after a review by another panel that looked into indicators like opening a new business, accessing credits, and tax policies, 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 said in the investigative report.
The World Bank also said its former president Jim Yong Kim met with China officials and assured them that something would be done about improving the country’s ranking. A spokesman for Mr. Kim did not return a request from The Gazette seeking comments on Friday morning.
The global financial institution said the changes undermined its ‘Doing Business’ parameters and consequently suspended the ranking altogether. The group said a new methodology would be developed to gauge investment policies in countries across the world.
India, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, and Nigeria improved in the 2020 edition of the doing business report implementing one-fifth of all the reforms over the previous two years. Nigeria was not indicted as manipulating data in the report.
In 2017, Nigeria moved up 24 places in ease of doing the business compilation and also ranked amongst the top 10 reforming economies in the world. In 2019, Nigeria was again amongst the top 20 improvers in doing business out of 190 countries surveyed.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo claimed credits for implementing policies that precipitated Nigeria’s improvement in the global ranking. A spokesman for his office did not return a request seeking comments about the suspension of the program