World Bank “Doing Business” report goes out of business

The World Bank’s decision to terminate its discredited “Doing Business” report is long overdue.

The annual report for the past 18 years graded and ranked countries according to whether their regulatory or tax regimes were sufficiently pro-business. The report’s notorious labour market indicators were suspended and then discontinued a decade ago.

In 2006 it ranked the Pacific island country of Palau as “best performer” on labour issues due to the absence of virtually any legal protections for workers and the removal of minimum wage regulations.

Nevertheless, the report continued to aggressively push a low-tax, free-market deregulation agenda, including giving tax havens high rankings. The end of this report removes an important obstacle to development and the realisation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

ITUC General Secretary Sharan Burrow said: “The belated demise of this ideologically driven report is welcome. The World Bank should focus its efforts on supporting a business environment that is based on respect for international labour standards, due diligence in supply chains and sustainability.

“Responsible companies increasingly recognise that businesses benefit from ensuring rights and dignity for their employees and by providing greater certainty for, and ensuring compliance by, their suppliers across global value chains.

“The ITUC looks forward to engaging in constructive dialogue with the World Bank to achieve that and overcome the destructive legacy of nearly two decades of the ‘Doing Business’ report being used to undermine development and push labour market deregulation at any cost.”