World Bank presses pause button on doing business reports

K.T. Jagannathan

The World Bank Group has paused publication of its “doing business reports”.

The decision follows the detection of a number of irregularities regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports. The reports were published in October 2017 and 2019. “The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology,” the World Bank said.

“Over the 17 years of its existence, the Doing Business report has been a valued tool for countries seeking to measure 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,” the multilateral agency said in a statement.

“The integrity and impartiality of our data and analysis are paramount”, it said. It has since ordered 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,” it said.

Asserting that it would act on the findings, the World Bank hinted at retrospectively correcting 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 statement added.