Bureaucracy in Bangladesh functions relatively unchecked by government and civil society. High-level civil servants, in particular, constitute a strong interest group. The Transformation Index 2014 reports that administrative operations in the country are deficient due to widespread corruption, a politicised bureaucracy and a lack of resources, as well as patronage. In addition, the government has exercised influence on local administrations and has significantly curtailed powers of elected local government officials. According to a 2012 research paper by the University of Dhaka, corruption and undue political influence are rampant in the civil service sector and the Public Service Commission, which has been undermined in recent years due to political interference (see more under 'Public Anti-Corruption Initiatives'). Officials sometimes obtain their positions and promotions through bribes and are not necessarily chosen on the basis of merit and skill. The same research paper further notes that bribing the staff of the Public Service Commission has been among the allegations that have damaged the status of the Commission. There are no rules limiting the acceptance of hospitality for civil servants. The combination of low salaries for public servants, the discretionary powers of the bureaucracy and the complexity of the regulatory environment encourages private-public corruption and the use of facilitation payments.
Business executives surveyed in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 perceive government administrative requirements to be quite burdensome. They also report that government policy-making is fairly opaque and that government officials will usually favour well-connected companies and individuals when deciding on policies and contracts. Commercial regulations can be ambiguous and inconsistent, and the lack of transparency increases start-up and overall operational costs. According to Doing Business 2014, starting a company, on average, requires an entrepreneur to go through 7 procedures, takes 10.5 days and costs equal to 19.9% of GNI per capita. There is no minimum deposit requirement to obtain a company registration number, and the time required to start a company is less than the regional average.
Business executives surveyed in the Global Competitiveness Report 2013-2014 report that the judiciary is not independent from political influences from members of government, citizens or companies. According to the Human Rights Report 2013, lower courts are rife with corruption. Moreover, the Investment Climate Statement 2013 states that the lack of effective judicial and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms impedes the enforcement of contracts and the resolution of business disputes in the country. It is common to include an arbitration clause in commercial contracts, as Bangladesh is a member of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) and a signatory and contracting state of the New York Convention 1958. The Bangladesh Export Promotion Bureau is known to offer assistance in dispute settlement of export-related transactions. Access the Lexadin World Law Guide for a collection of legislation in Bangladesh.