The World Bank’s Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency finds that 85 developing economies implemented 169 business reforms during the past year, compared with 154 the previous year. High-income economies carried out an additional 62 reforms, bringing the total over the period to 231 in 122 economies.
The majority of the new reforms were designed to improve the efficiency of regulations by reducing their cost and complexity, with the largest number of improvements made in “Starting a Business.” A total of 45 economies, 33 of which developing, undertook such reforms. India, for example, eliminated the minimum capital requirement and a business operations certificate, saving entrepreneurs unnecessary bureaucracy and five days’ wait. Kenya simplified pre-registration procedures, reducing incorporation time by four days.
Efforts to strengthen legal institutions and frameworks were less common, with 66 reforms implemented in 53 economies. The largest number of such reforms were carried out under “Getting Credit,” with 32 improvements – nearly half in Sub-Saharan Africa.
“A modern economy cannot function without regulation and, at the same time, it can be brought to a standstill through poor and cumbersome regulation,” said Kaushik Basu, World Bank chief economist and senior vice president. “The challenge … is to tread this narrow path by identifying regulations that are good and necessary, and shunning ones that thwart creativity and hamper the functioning of small and medium enterprises.”
Singapore retains the top spot in the global ranking of the most business-friendly regulatory environments. The top ten also includes New Zealand (2); Denmark (3); Republic of Korea (4); Hong Kong SAR, China (5); United Kingdom (6); United States (7); Sweden (8); Norway (9); and Finland (10).
More information available at the International Organization of Employers website.