SA fell two places in the World Bank’s 2010 Doing Business Report, entitled “Reforming Through Difficult Times, released on Wednesday. The World Bank said SA ranked 34 in the survey, from 32 the previous year.
The index ranks 183 participants in 10 categories including starting a business, dealing with the construction permits, employing workers, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and closing a business.
According to the report, from June 2008 to May 2009 SA made only one reform — easing the tax burden on businesses by abolishing stamp duty. The country showed weak performances in the trading across borders and the registering property categories.
According to the World Bank, a record 131 economies reformed business regulation in the period under review. This was more than 70% of the 183 economies covered by the report, the biggest share in any year since the annual report was first published in 2004.
Between June 2008 and May 2009, the report noted 287 reforms, an increase of 20 percent from the previous year.
Rwanda was the globe’s top reformer when it came to business regulation — the first time a sub-Saharan African economy has leaped to such a position in the report. Rwanda — hit by genocide in 1994 — reformed in seven of the 10 business regulation areas measured by the report. “It now takes a Rwandan entrepreneur just two procedures and three days to start a business,” the World Bank said. “Imports and exports are more efficient and transferring property takes less time thanks to a reorganised registry and statutory time limits.”
The World Bank said that in Rwanda, investors now had more protection, insolvency reorganisation had been streamlined and a wider range of assets could be used as collateral to access credit.
Singapore topped the 2010 report’s list, followed by New Zealand, Hong Kong, and the US. — Sapa