Eastern Europe and Central Asia Lead World in Improving Business Regulation for Entrepreneurs

October 20, 2011

A new IFC and World Bank report finds that for the ninth consecutive year, Eastern Europe and Central Asia led other regions in improving regulations for entrepreneurs.

Released today, Doing Business 2012: Doing Business in a More Transparent World assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies. The report ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency, and trading across borders. The study’s methodology expanded this year to include indicators on getting electricity connections.

This year report ranks Belarus 69th out of the 183 economies reviewed compared with its 91st position last year. The rankings for the previous period had been recalculated in Doing Business 2012 to include a new indicator on getting electricity, in addition to methodology changes for 2 other indicators.
Belarus simplified property transfers by doing away with the requirement to obtain the municipality’s approval for transfers of most commercial buildings in Minsk. Belarus also abolished several taxes, including turnover and sales taxes, and simplified compliance with corporate income, value added, and other taxes by reducing the frequency of filings and payments and facilitating electronic filing and payment.

In addition, Belarus strengthened investor protections by introducing requirements for greater corporate disclosure to the board of directors and to the public. It made enforcing contracts more difficult, however, by modifying its procedure code to lengthen the time frames for commercial dispute resolution

This past year, 21 of the region’s 24 economies improved business regulations for domestic firms by implementing a total of 53 reforms in areas such as resolving insolvency, dealing with construction permitting, enforcing contracts, and protecting investors. Amid a global economic crisis, 40 percent of the region’s economies improved insolvency proceedings by implementing such measures as amended bankruptcy laws.

“Research shows that a streamlined business regulatory environment helps a country’s economic growth,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group. “By simplifying regulations and expanding access to credit, countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to enhance opportunities for entrepreneurs.”

About the Doing Business report series

Doing Business analyzes regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on 10 indicators and cover 183 economies. Previous year’s rankings are back-calculated to account for the addition of new indicator(s), data corrections, and methodology changes in existing indicators so as to provide a meaningful comparison with the new rankings. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure security, macroeconomic stability, corruption, the level of skills, or the strength of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates in more than 80 economies and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies.