Bangladesh was the top reformer in South Asia in the past year, and Pakistan and Maldives remained in the lead as the easiest places to do business, with Sri Lanka a distant third, an annual World Bank’s survey said.
Doing Business 2010, an annual study by the World Bank and its private sector arm, the International Finance Corporation, said Bangladesh led business regulation reforms in the region.
South Asia as a region was slow to reform. Other regions, especially Africa was catching up. Rwanda topped this year’s list as the country to do most business regulation reform.
Bangladesh, the region’s most active reformer, had started online company registration – cutting start-up time by nearly a month, cut corporate income taxes, and expedited trade by introducing an automated customs clearance system at its main port.
Bangladesh has a rank of 119 among 181 countries studied (110 in 2009). It covers regulation reforms made during the year to May 2009.
Sri Lanka had improved credit information, but had introduced new regulations making it more difficult to get a construction permit and had also raised fee. Sri Lanka has a rank of 105 (102 in 2009).
India which has a rank of 133 (122 in 2009), had started to implement a new securitization law. The country had also made it easier to close a business. No reforms were recorded in Bhutan which has a rank of 126.
Nepal had cut the fee for transferring a property from 6.0 percent to 4.5 percent of the property’s value. It has a rank of 123 (121 in 2009).
But the easiest places to do business in South Asia remained Pakistan and the Maldives. Maldives, which has a rank of 87 (69 in 2009), however had made it more difficult to do business than the previous year, by making employment less flexible.
Pakistan was the easiest place to do business in South Asia with a global rank of 85 (77 in 2009). It had started an online registration system for sales tax and lifted a requirement for a document that had reduced the time taken to register a business by four days.
Afghanistan, which was the most difficult placed to do business with a rank of 160 had made several reforms. It had gained two places from last year’s 162.
The easiest place in the world to do business in the world was Singapore, followed by New Zealand and Hong Kong.