Singapore: For the second year in a row, Singapore was ranked the world’s easiest place to do business, followed by New Zealand and the US, according to the World Bank’s annual “Doing Business” report, released this morning.
The “Doing Business” report prepared by Justin Yap, tracks a set of regulatory indicators in 178 economies related to business startup, operation, trade, payment of taxes and closure by measuring the time and cost associated with various government requirements.
However, it does not track variables such as economic policies, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perceptions or crime rates.
* China and India are making progress in implementing business-friendly reforms. In China, reforms included a new property law that put private property rights on equal footing as state property rights and expanded range of assets that can be used as collateral; its new bankruptcy law gives secured creditors priority to proceeds from collateral; construction became easier with electronic processing of building permits reducing delays by two weeks; overall, China is in 83rd place for ease of doing business
* Several East Asian countries are falling behind pace of reforms in much of the rest of the world
* Cambodia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore and Taiwan recorded no net improvement in any of the 10 areas studied by the report
* Hong Kong was ranked fourth, followed by Denmark, U K, Canada, Ireland, Australia and Iceland
* Countries considered least business-friendly were, from the bottom, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, Guinea-Bissau, Republic of Congo, Burundi, Chad and Venezuela.
* In China, reforms included a new property law that put private property rights on equal footing as state property rights and expanded range of assets that can be used as collateral. But its new bankruptcy law gives secured creditors priority to proceeds from their collateral. Construction became easier with electronic processing of building permits reducing delays by two weeks. Overall, the country is in 83rd place for ease of doing business.
Areas where Singapore scores an ace
* Efficient procedures, most of which can be done online
* Requires relatively few interactions with government (e.g.,one-stop shops); things run smoothly, take lesser time and do not cost very much
* Egypt topped; it cut minimum capital requirements by 98% and halved the startup time and cost
* Several Eastern European countries, including Croatia, Macedonia, Georgia and Bulgaria surpassed Western European economies
* Estonia, the most business friendly of the former socialist bloc, ranks 17, and together with Georgia, 18, is ahead of Belgium, 19, Germany, 20, the Netherlands, 21, France, 31, Spain, 38, and Italy, 53
* Indonesia and Vietnam strengthened investor protections while Turkey cut its corporate income tax from 30 to 20% among other changes
* Investors are taking note. They look for upside potential, and find it in economies that are reforming regardless of the starting point
*Pace of reform was slower in Latin America than any other region, likely the result of a busy election year that saw new governments in 13 countries
How does India fare?
India was seen to be speeding up its reforms, enabling online submissions of customs declarations and payment of customs fees, reducing the time it takes to meet all administrative requirements to export from 27 days in 2006 to 18 as well as expanding the credit bureau to include payment histories on businesses as well as individuals. India was ranked 120th in the overall list.