The World Bank had to put on hold its ‘Doing Business’ report after it was reported that China and three other countries had submitted data that was “inappropriately altered”.
China, Azerbaijan, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia appeared to have been inappropriately altered their data, said a source with knowledge of the decision.
The move renewed concerns first raised two years ago by the World Bank’s chief economist that the report, called “Doing Business,” was vulnerable to manipulation. According to the Doing Business report, a sharp difference was noted when China rose from 46 to 31 between 2019 to 2020.
The World Bank in a statement said: “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 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,” it added.
“The publication of the Doing Business report will be paused as we conduct our assessment,” said the World Bank.
India had jumped 14 positions to be ranked 63rd among 190 countries in the World Bank’s ease of doing business 2020 survey.