Singapore continues to provide the world’s most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs, while Philippines is one of the top business reformers globally, finds a new World Bank and IFC report.
"Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises" also finds that since 2005, 22 of 23 economies in East Asia and the Pacific have made their regulatory environment more business-friendly. In the past year, 15 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific implemented at least one regulatory reform making it easier to do business.
Among the region’s economies, China made the greatest progress during that time in improving business regulations for local entrepreneurs. The Philippines also ranks among the top 10 economies making the biggest improvement in business regulation in the past year.
The Philippines' improvement in the ranking is attributed to regulatory reforms the government implemented in three areas. First, it introduced a fully operational online filing and payment system that made tax compliance easier for companies. The government also simplified occupancy clearances that eased construction permitting. Also put in place were new regulations that guarantee borrowers’ right to access their data in the country’s largest credit bureau.
“The Philippines is one of the top reformers globally,” said World Bank Country Director Motoo Konishi. “Improvements in its business regulations show the country’s commitment to inclusive growth that generates more and better jobs and reduces poverty. The private sector, especially small and medium enterprises, has a key role to play in generating quality jobs. It can only perform this role if regulations are simpler, more transparent, easy to comply with and fair for firms of all sizes.”
Joining Singapore and Hong Kong on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations this year are, in this order, New Zealand, the United States, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway, and the United Kingdom.
“For the first time, this year’s Doing Business report measures regulations in Myanmar, a country that has started to open up to the global economy after years of isolation,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group.
“The data show that there is considerable scope for reform, and efforts are under way to improve the country’s business regulations. By removing bottlenecks to firm creation and growth, governments can signal the emergence of a more business-friendly environment, as has already been done in a large number of economies in the region.”