Ease of doing business: UAE jumps 10 places to be 11th

Dwayne Harmon
November 2, 2018

India's score was boosted this time because of the strides in cross-border trading with the streamlining of paper work and documentation - the country's score has moved up from 146 past year on this count to 80 this time.

Long known for its bureaucracy, India has made major strides in improving prospects for businesses in the country, the World Bank said in a report on Wednesday.

The World Bank said economies of the Middle East and North Africa significantly accelerated the pace of reforms in the past year, with 43 reforms, compared to 29 the previous year.

In its annual report, the World Bank said overall, the BRIC economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China - improved their average ease of doing business score by a combined total of nearly 19 points across various areas of business regulation.

Malaysia rose nine rungs to 15th place in the World Bank's flagship Doing Business report for 2019, indicating a significant improvement of local conditions for starting and running businesses in the country. This year's top 10 countries that advanced the most based on number of reforms undertaken, are Afghanistan, Djibouti, China, Azerbaijan, India, Togo, Kenya, Cote d'Ivoire, Turkey and Rwanda. "Going forward, policy makers should focus on adopting global best practices in areas where they are most needed", said Santiago Croci Downes, programme manager of the Doing Business Unit, World Bank.

New Zealand was the easiest place to do business globally, followed by Singapore and Denmark.

A Hong Kong government spokesman said the city's improved ranking reflected "continuous enhancements in our business facilitation measures".

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President Uhuru also expressed his frustration with some lawyers who have persistently defeated reforms at the Lands Ministry especially at the Registry. The other important takeaway from the Index is that what is common among the top-ranked economies is the pattern of continuous reform.

The gains made in construction, cross-border trade, digitisation of permits and signatures has minimised the bottlenecks in the system.

"However, at 144 days, registering property in Pakistan could be made yet easier so that the country could surpass the South Asia regional average of 114 days", the report said.

"I am pleased to note the priority the government is placing on the important agenda of improving the business climate to boost investment and create jobs".

"We demand that the World Bank review the Philippines' rating, and make a correction immediately given our country's increases in the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) scores, which was, unfortunately, offset by the grossly inaccurate and understated findings in the Getting Credit indicator of the Report", the statement read.

The Getting Credit score slid to 5 from 30 a year ago, even as it said that credit for micro, small and medium enterprises grew 19% - which is the fastest in the region, according to the Finance department. Afghanistan, with five reforms, moved up 16 spots to 167 place in the global rankings. It is the highest ranked Sub-Saharan African economy.

- During the past year, Malaysia implemented six reforms, Mauritius five, and the UAE four.

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