The World Bank’s latest series of reports on Better Regulation presented today
SOFIA, November 23, 2010 — In order to sustain its competitiveness Bulgaria’s relatively favorable business environment would require further efforts to minimize time and cost spent by businesses to comply with different regulations. This is one of the main conclusions of the series of latest World Bank reports on Better Regulation that have been presented today.
The event was opened by Traicho Traikov, Minister of Economy, Energy and Tourism, and attended by governmental officials, business associations, academia and civil society representatives, international partners and European Commission officials.
The overview report called “Better Regulation for Higher Growth” summarizes the findings of three topical studies recently completed by the World Bank namely: “Administrative and Regulatory Barriers to Business” (completed in 2010); “The Ex-Post Impact Assessment of the Act on Limiting Administrative Regulation and Administrative Control on Economic Activity” (completed in 2010) and “Reforming the Regime of State Fees”, presented in 2009.
Bulgaria has made great strides in the past six years in improving its business environment by reducing the administrative and regulatory burden on the business sector, emphasizes the report. It also argues that although Bulgaria has made progress through legislation, policies, and institutions, there is substantial room for improvement in the administration of regulations, including at the local level, with the focus on shortening time and cost business spent for complying with regulations. For example, in the new member states like Estonia and Slovakia, businesses spend less than 7% of their time dealing with regulations, whereas in Bulgaria managers say that 10.6% of their time is lost in dealing with different regulations. Moreover, municipal regulations often put more on the plate of businesses pwith additional requirements and duplication, lack of public registers, lack of electronic submission of documents and high local fees and taxes.
The report also states that while regulatory and administrative reforms to date have produced concrete results, the regime of state fees is particularly burdensome for business. An outdated legal framework, weak institutional structures, and lack of government policy for setting state fees has resulted in an unchecked increase in fees, which rose by as much as 60 percent between 2005 and 2008. A number of state fees are so high that they seriously harm competition by functioning as barriers to firm entry.
“Shortening the time and cost for dealing with regulations could serve as a green light for spurring Bulgaria’s growth”, World Bank Country Manager for Bulgaria Markus Repnik said. “Business regulation sets the “rules of the game” for private sector activities. And good business regulation is based on clear policies, good legislation and strong institutions to ensure effective implementation of these policies and legislation. I am glad that Bulgaria is very committed to further improve business regulation” Repnik emphasized.