Vientiane, October 29, 2014—A new World Bank Group report finds that Lao PDR improved its business environment over the past year, moving up seven places in the global ranking on the ease of doing business. But while the progress is encouraging, entrepreneurs in Lao PDR still face severe challenges compared with counterparts in some regional neighbors.
Released today, Doing Business 2015: Going Beyond Efficiency finds that Lao PDR’s standing in the ease of doing business ranking improved from 155 among 189 economies in last year’s Doing Business report to 148. The higher ranking this year reflects measures to strengthen legal rights of borrowers and lenders by establishing a collateral registry and to strengthen protections of minority investors by improving disclosure standards for directors of firms listed on the Lao Securities Exchange. Yet Lao PDR still lags far behind in the ease of doing business ranking compared with Malaysia, at 18, and Thailand, at 26.
“We are encouraged to see Lao PDR beginning to move up in the ease of doing business ranking,” said Sally Burningham, Country Manager for the World Bank in Lao PDR. “However, entrepreneurs in Lao PDR still suffer from high costs of doing business, such as the cost of dealing with cumbersome regulations and licensing requirements—as well as lack of predictability, with many regulations not consistently enforced. So it is important that reform efforts making it easier to do business continue in Lao PDR. The World Bank Group looks forward to supporting key reforms in tax simplification, streamlined business start-up procedures, and more efficient import and export processes.”
Overall, the report places Singapore at the top of the global ranking on the ease of doing business. Joining it on the list of the top 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulatory environments are New Zealand; Hong Kong SAR, China; Denmark; the Republic of Korea; Norway; the United States; the United Kingdom; Finland; and Australia.
About the Doing Business report series
The annual World Bank Group flagship Doing Business report 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 the distance to frontier scores for 10 topics and cover 189 economies. Doing Business does not measure all aspects of the business environment that matter to firms and investors. For example, it does not measure the quality of fiscal management, other aspects of macroeconomic stability, the level of skills in the labor force, or the resilience of financial systems. Its findings have stimulated policy debates worldwide and enabled a growing body of research on how firm-level regulation relates to economic outcomes across economies. Each year the report team works to improve the methodology and to enhance their data collection, analysis and output. The project has benefited from feedback from many stakeholders over the years. With a key goal to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the local regulatory environment for business around the world, the project goes through rigorous reviews to ensure its quality and effectiveness. This year’s report marks the 12th edition of the global Doing Business report series. For more information about the Doing Business reports, please visit doingbusiness.org and join us on doingbusiness.org/Facebook.