(Bloomberg) -- Before the World Bank discontinued a troubled report ranking countries’ business environments, an outside panel of experts urged the institution to overhaul the project by scrapping aggregate ratings and prohibiting staff members from providing paid consulting services to nations.

Recommendations also included measuring the reality on the ground rather than just as laws are written, along with “using a representative cross-section of firms, integrating government’s function in promoting a good business environment, and expanding the international coverage of the indicators, notably in trade and finance,” the panel’s chair, former Colombian Finance Minister Mauricio Cardenas, said in a letter to the bank dated Sept. 2 and released by the World Bank on Monday.

Last week, the World Bank said it decided to abandon the “Doing Business” series entirely after a probe turned up serious ethics issues.

The external panel also recommended the World Bank end the practice of providing consulting services to “some middle- and high-income countries” to help improve their ranking, calling that “an apparent conflict of interest.”

Other members of the panel included Laura Alfaro of Harvard University, Alan Auerbach of the University of California at Berkeley, Columbia’s Takatoshi Ito, Sebnem Kalemli-Özcan at the University of Maryland and Justin Sandefur of the Center for Global Development.

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