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* Sri Lanka slides down the ranks of Global Competitiveness this year
Wed, Sep 3, 2014, 08:56 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Sept 03, Geneva: Sri Lanka has slipped down the ranking of global competitiveness this year after improving last year, according to the Global Competitiveness Report 2014/2015 released by the Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF) on Wednesday.

Sri Lanka ranked at 73rd place among 144 countries in the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) this year dropping eight notches from last year with a score of 4.2 out of 7. Last year, Sri Lanka ranked 65 among 148 countries. However the score remained the same as last year.

Sri Lanka is included in the category of economies in Efficiency-Driven Stage 2.

The survey, which has been conducted annually, ranked the competitiveness of 144 countries based on 12 key indicators - the pillars of competitiveness - that collectively make up a comprehensive picture of a country's competitiveness.

The 12 pillars are: institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic environment, health and primary education, higher education and training, goods market efficiency, labor market efficiency, financial market development, technological readiness, market size, business sophistication, and innovation.

Sri Lanka's ranking in the Global Competitiveness Index 2014/15 shows that the Macroeconomic environment and the labor market efficiency are the weakest indicators.

In the Efficiency Enhancers category which included the Higher Education and Training, Goods Market Efficiency, Labor Market Efficiency, Financial Market Development, Technological Readiness and the Market Size, the island nation earned the 75th place, six places below last year's rank.

In the Innovation and Sophistication Factors which includes Business sophistication and Innovation Sri Lanka was at the 43rd place.

The most problematic factors for doing business were access to financing, and inefficient government bureaucracy. Tax regulations, Inflation, tax rates and corruption were also significant factors.

Hiring and firing practices, redundancy costs, country's capacity to attract and retain talent and low ratio of women in labor force to men weakened the Labor market efficiency.

Switzerland retained its 1st place position again this year as a result of its continuing strong performance across the board and Singapore remained second for the fourth consecutive year. United States improved its competitiveness position for the second consecutive year, climbing two places to third this year from 5th last year. Finland (4th) and Germany (5th) rounded up the top five.

South Asian nations lag behind, with only India featuring in the top half of the rankings. In South Asia, among the region's six countries covered by the GCI, only India features in the top half of the rankings. Since 2009, the average GCI score of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries has stagnated.

However dropping for the sixth consecutive edition India ranked 71st, Nepal 102nd, Bangladesh 109th, Pakistan 129th, and Bhutan 103rd.

The competitiveness gap between South Asian and Southeast Asian nations runs deeper than before, the report revealed. The five largest Southeast Asian economies (ASEAN-5) all feature in the top half of the rankings.

The Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka (IPS) was the Sri Lankan Partner Institute in conducting the Executive Opinion Survey for building the GCI rankings.

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