Myanmar most improved for ease of starting business

Myanmar has leapt up the World Bank’s ranking for ease of starting a business – moving from 189th out of 189 countries (or last place) last year, to 160th in new numbers released yesterday.

This makes it the most improved country in the world in this category.

For overall ease of doing business, Myanmar has climbed 10 places since last year, and is now safely clear of the bottom 10 countries in the world, in 167th place.

However, it remains the lowest-ranked ASEAN member and, with the exception of Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the lowest-ranked country in Asia.

At the other end of the scale, more advanced Asian economies are well represented in the top 20 economies, according to the Bank’s annual Doing Business 2016: Measuring Quality and Efficiency survey.

Singapore is in first place globally for the 10th consecutive year. New Zealand is in second place, Korea in fourth, Hong Kong in fifth, Taiwan in 11th, Australia in 13th and Malaysia in 18th.

Vietnam, Hong Kong and Indonesia led reforms in the region, according to the survey, and Myanmar also gave reforms a good shot, narrowly missing out on the list of top 10 global improvers.

Specifically, in Myanmar it has become easier to start a business and secure an electricity supply.

Authorities removed minimum capital requirements for starting a local company and streamlined incorporation procedures, “helping small enterprises save valuable time and resources”, said the World Bank.

The government has also reduced the time it takes to set up a new electricity connection in Yangon, by scrapping a requirement for the Ministry of Electric Power to issue national-level approvals for each connection request.

Conversely, Myanmar regressed on taxes, making corporate tax payment more expensive and complicated, by increasing the rate paid by employers and the ceiling for social security payments, requiring extra documents for commercial tax returns and introducing quarterly income tax filing and payments.

Myanmar’s courts were also singled out in the report for “slow and costly dispute resolution paired with low-quality judicial processes”.

It takes around three years for a local company to enforce a contract through the courts in Myanmar, and costs more than half the value of the dispute, said the World Bank.

“The country’s court system has no case management, no court automation and no specialised commercial courts or small claims courts – all aspects reflected in Myanmar’s low score on the quality of judicial processes index.”

In contrast, resolving a commercial dispute through the Singapore District Court takes 150 days, the shortest time in the world, and costs 25.8 percent of the value of the claim.

According to the World Bank, the 10 most-improved economies over the past year were Costa Rica, Uganda, Kenya, Cyprus, Mauritania, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, Jamaica, Senegal and Benin.

“Three other economies that made substantial advances – Myanmar, Brunei Darussalam and the Democratic Republic of Congo – are not considered top improvers because they implemented fewer than three reforms making it easier to do business, with two each,” it said.

Source: Myanmar Times

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