UK ranked eighth in world for ease of doing business

The UK has retained its position in the World Bank's  top 10 ranking of countries that are easy to do business in, moving up one place to number eight 

The top 10 best places in the world to do business, according to the study, are New Zealand (with a score of 86.8 out of 100), Singapore (86.2), Hong Kong SAR (85.3), Denmark (85.3), Republic of Korea (84), US (84), Georgia (83.7), UK (83.5), Norway (82.6), and Sweden (82).

The World Bank ranking means the UK is the second best place to do business in the G7 after the US and the second best in the EU after Denmark.

The study measures regulations across 190 economies in 12 business regulatory areas to assess the business environment in each economy. Ten of these indicators were used to estimate an ease of doing business score this year, over the 12 months ending 30 April 2019.

These cover the rules affecting a business from inception through operation to wind-down: 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.

Economies that score highest on the ease of doing business ranking share several common features, including the widespread use of electronic systems. The top 20 economies have online business incorporation processes, electronic tax-filing platforms, and allow online procedures related to property transfers. Moreover, 11 economies have electronic procedures for construction permitting.

The World Bank says the 10 economies that improved the most in their ease of doing business score were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria.

For example, Saudi Arabia, authorities established a one-stop shop for company incorporation, and streamlined and merged pre- and post-registration processes.

Jordan joins the top reformers for the first time with three reforms. The economy strengthened access to credit by introducing a new secured transactions law, amending the insolvency law and launching a unified, modern and notice-based collateral registry. In addition, Jordan made paying taxes easier by implementing electronic filing and payment for labour taxes and other mandatory contributions.

With five reforms to business regulations, Togo ranked among the world’s top 10 most improved economies on the ease of doing business score for the second year in a row and for the third time in the past five years. Bahrain implemented the highest number of reforms, improving in nine out of ten areas measured by the report. China and Saudi Arabia followed with eight reforms each.  China made paying taxes easier by implementing preferential tax treatment on corporate income tax rates for small and thin-profit enterprises, among other steps.

Overall, the Doing Business 2020 study found governments of 115 economies around the world launched 294 reforms over the past year to make doing business easier for their domestic private sector.

David Malpass, World Bank group president, said: ‘Governments can foster market-oriented development and broad-based growth by creating rules that help businesses launch, hire, and expand.

‘Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues, and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards.’

Since its inception in 2003, more than 3,500 business reforms have been carried out in 186 of the 190 economies Doing Business monitors. However, this year’s report also noted that  26 economies took steps that posed new obstacles to business activity during the period of the research, and many of these increased the costs of doing business.

World Bank study Doing Business 2020

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