In a report released today, the bank notes that between June
2009 and May 2010, governments in 117 economies implemented
216 business regulation reforms, boosting legal transparency,
property rights and bankruptcy procedures. This represents
the second highest number of reforms posted by the survey in
its eight-year history, while last year saw 250 improvements
in business regulation.
When the global crisis hit, we were concerned that
policymakers would be distracted by the financial turbulence
or take their eye off the ball. But evidently, this has not
happened, said Neil Gregory, acting director of global
indicators and analysis at the World Bank.
The report ranks 183 economies on key aspects of business
regulation for domestic firms. It notes a silver lining in
eastern Europes financial crash, with governments,
particularly in the Baltics, taking measures to reform their
insolvency regimes. Thanks to better corporate
re-organization procedures for firms facing liquidity or
solvency issues, the more viable firms have institutional
support to continue operating in the event of difficulties,
the report notes.
But the most reform-minded region over the past year has been
east Asia and the Pacific. Eighteen of the 24 economies in
the region including Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam
have taken efforts to ease business start-up
regulations, permits and property registration for small and
medium-size enterprises. The macro-economic importance of
boosting the operating environment for domestic firms has
shot up over the past year, Gregory noted. At a time
when Asia faces the challenge of increasing domestic
consumption, it is heartening that business reforms are
gathering pace, he said.
India is also one of the 40 most-improved economies for
domestic business in the past year, the report notes. Since
2005, India has implemented 18 business regulation reforms in
seven areas, principally by leveraging its technological
capacity to improve business registration procedures.
Gregory pointed out that technological innovations in
developing economies have provided the biggest impetus for
reforms this year, from the introduction of electronic filing
for taxes, an electronic collateral registry to online
submission of customs forms and payments.
Globally, high-income members of the Organization for
Economic Co-Operation and Development offer the easiest
operating environment for domestic firms while Sub-Saharan
Africa and South Asia are the most inhospitable. For the
fifth year running, Singapore leads the rankings, followed by
Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United