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The World Bank Group on Thursday confirmed that it will be discontinuing 'Doing Business' reports. It also added that it will work on new approach to assessing business and investment climate in countries. 

In a statement, the World Bank said that after the irregularities raised ethical matters involving former bank staff and board officials, the development lender will work on a new approach to assessing countries' business and investment climates.

International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva has also been cited by the World Bank in the probe of its periodic “Doing Business" report, which has been abandoned after it was tarnished by ethics issues.

Georgieva served as chief executive officer of the World Bank prior to moving to head the IMF.

Read World Bank's full statement here: 

“Trust in the research of the World Bank Group is vital. World Bank Group research informs the actions of policymakers, helps countries make better-informed decisions, and allows stakeholders to measure economic and social improvements more accurately. Such research has also been a valuable tool for the private sector, civil society, academia, journalists, and others, broadening understanding of global issues.

After data irregularities on Doing Business 2018 and 2020 were reported internally in June 2020, World Bank management paused the next Doing Business report and initiated a series of reviews and audits of the report and its methodology. In addition, because the internal reports raised ethical matters, including the conduct of former Board officials as well as current and/or former Bank staff, management reported the allegations to the Bank’s appropriate internal accountability mechanisms.  

After reviewing all the information available to date on Doing Business, including the findings of past reviews, audits, and the report the Bank released today on behalf of the Board of Executive Directors, World Bank Group management has taken the decision to discontinue the Doing Business report. The World Bank Group remains firmly committed to advancing the role of the private sector in development and providing support to governments to design the regulatory environment that supports this. Going forward, we will be working on a new approach to assessing the business and investment climate. We are deeply grateful to the efforts of the many staff members who have worked diligently to advance the business climate agenda, and we look forward to harnessing their energies and abilities in new ways."

Later, the U.S. Treasury Department said it was analyzing the report.

"These are serious findings and Treasury is analyzing the report. Our primary responsibility is to uphold the integrity of international financial institutions," spokeswoman Alexandra LaManna said, when asked about a report by law firm WilmerHale about its independent investigation of the matter.

Moreover, after the release of the statement, Georgieva disputed an independent investigation which found that in her previous job at the World Bank, she pressed staff to alter a report to avoid angering China.

Georgieva chastised a World Bank senior official for "mishandling the Bank's relationship with China and failing to appreciate the importance of the Doing Business report to the country," according to the report that analyzed 80,000 documents and interviewed more than three dozen current and former employees of the lender.

WIth inputs from agencies

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