The World Bank Group on 25 October 2016 released the report titled Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All. It is the 14th report in a series of annual reports measuring the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.
Data in Doing Business 2017 Report are current as of 1 June 2016. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why.
Highlights of the report
• It finds that entrepreneurs in 137 economies saw improvements in their local regulatory framework last year. Between June 2015 and June 2016, the report documented 283 business reforms.
• Reforms reducing the complexity and cost of regulatory processes in the area of starting a business were the most common in 2015/16.
• The next most common reforms were in the areas of paying taxes, getting credit and trading across borders.
• In its global country rankings of business efficiency, the report awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand, Singapore ranked second, followed by Denmark at third position.
• Hong Kong SAR, China, Korea, Norway, United Kingdom, United States and Sweden were among the top 10 countries in global country rankings.
• Brunei Darussalam, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain were the most improved economies in 2015/16. These 10 top improvers implemented 48 regulatory reforms making it easier to do business.
• Economies in all regions implemented the reforms easing the process of doing business, but Europe and Central Asia were the region with the highest share of economies implementing at least one reform.
• Developing countries carried out more than 75 percent of the 283 reforms in the past year, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over one-quarter of all reforms.
• Starting a new business now takes an average of 21 days worldwide, compared with 46 days 10 years ago.
• It also features expansions to the Paying Taxes indicator to cover post-filing processes such as tax refunds, tax audits and administrative tax appeals to better understand the overall tax environment.
• It also studies procurement in 78 economies across five main areas: accessibility and transparency, bid security, payment delays, incentives for small and medium enterprises and complaints mechanisms.
• Doing Business includes a gender dimension in four of the 11 topics sets- Starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts present a gender dimension for the first time this year.
• The report features six case studies in the areas of getting electricity, getting credit: legal rights, getting credit: credit information, protecting minority investors, paying taxes and trading across borders.
Highlights of major Regions in the Report
• East Asia and the Pacific is home to two of the world’s top 10 ranked economies- Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, China, and two of the top 10 improvers- Brunei Darussalam and Indonesia. The region’s economies implemented a total of 45 reforms to improve the ease of doing business.
• The Europe and Central Asia region was also a major reformer during the past year, with Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan and Serbia amongst the world’s top 10 improvers.
• Business reform activity accelerated in Latin America and the Caribbean with over two-thirds of the region’s economies implementing a total of 32 reforms in the past year, compared with 24 reforms the previous year.
• The Middle East and North Africa region saw the most reforms implemented in the past year since 2009, with 35 reforms in 15 of the region’s 20 economies. Among the reformers, the UAE and Bahrain were among the world’s top 10 improvers.
• In South Asia, five of the region’s eight economies implemented a total of 11 reforms in the past year, compared with nine the previous year. Pakistan, which was among the world’s top 10 improvers, implemented several reforms, as did India and Sri Lanka.
• Sub-Saharan Africa economies stepped up the pace of reform activity, with 37 economies undertaking a total of 80 business reforms. For the second consecutive year, Kenya was among the world’s top 10 improvers.
India in Doing Business 2017 Report
• India moved one rank up to the 130th position in the Report. This marginal improvement came on the back of slight improvement in four indicators- getting electricity, enforcing contracts, trading across borders and registering property.
• In the 2017 rankings, the only major improvement for India was seen in the area of getting electricity. The report recognised the efforts of Tata Power in Delhi to make it faster and cheaper to obtain a connection.
• In terms of starting a business, India’s ranking went down to 155th position from 151st last year. This was also true for registering a property.
• In terms of resolving insolvency, the country’s position slid a single rank to 136 from 135 last year.
• India’s ranking in trading across borders also fell by 10 spots to 143 though the World Bank recognized India’s reforms in making imports and exports easier through the launch of the ICEGATE portal.
• For India, the ranking covers data from Delhi and Mumbai, with weights of 53 percent and 47 percent, respectively.
About Doing Business Report
• The report presents quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe.
• It measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business- starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
• It also measures labour market regulation, which is not included in this year’s ranking.