Washington, D.C., October 29, 2013—A new World Bank Group report finds that in the year from June 2012 to June 2013, the Russian Federation improved its business regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs by implementing regulatory reforms in five areas measured by the report.
Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises shows that efforts to strengthen legal institutions and reduce the complexity and cost of regulatory processes have paid off for local entrepreneurs in Europe and Central Asia. The region has overtaken East Asia and the Pacific as the second most business-friendly after the high-income economies in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In the past year, Russia took steps to make getting electricity simpler and less costly. It set standard connection tariffs and eliminated many procedures previously required, reducing the time needed to get a new connection by more than 40 percent and the cost by nearly 80 percent. Indeed, Russia made the biggest improvement globally in the ease of getting electricity in 2012/13. And it has made the greatest progress worldwide since 2009 in narrowing the gap with global good practices in this area.
Russia also made starting a business easier in the past year, by abolishing in practice the requirement to have the bank signature card notarized before opening a company bank account. Russia made dealing with construction permits easier by eliminating several requirements for project approvals and reducing the time required to register a new building. It streamlined procedures for registering property and implemented effective time limits for processing transfer applications. Finally, Russia made trading across borders easier by implementing an electronic system for submitting export and import documents and by reducing the number of physical inspections.
Thanks to these changes, Russia is among the global top 10 improvers in business regulation this year. It is also among the 10 economies advancing the most toward global good practices since 2009.
“Improving the investment climate is a top policy priority for the Russian authorities, and local entrepreneurs are seeing the results,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “Businesses dealing with obtaining electricity connection in Moscow now face fewer delays, more streamlined procedures and lower fees, thanks to the regulatory and procedural improvements in this area on the federal and Moscow level.”
The report’s global annual ranking on the ease of doing business puts Singapore in the top slot. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Denmark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.
In addition to the global rankings, every year Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year. The 10 economies topping that list this year are (in order of improvement) Ukraine, Rwanda, Russia, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guatemala. Yet challenges persist: five of this year’s top improvers—Burundi, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines, and Ukraine—are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business.