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Business Reforms Accelerate in Bhutan, Creates Opportunity to Realize Development Goals

November 5, 2015

WASHINGTON, October 27, 2015 – Efforts to improve the business climate in Bhutan accelerated during the past year and have helped it to be the highest ranking country in the South Asia Region at 71 out of 189 countries ranked worldwide, says the World Bank Group’s annual ease of doing business measurement.

Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, finds that Bhutan instituted two reforms during the past year. In Getting Electricity, Bhutan made it easier for entrepreneurs to connect to the grid by speeding up the process for obtaining a new connection. Five years ago, it took an entrepreneur 93 days to get electricity, now it only takes 61- less time than in France. Bhutan also implemented a reform in the Registering Property indicator through which transferring property has been streamlined by introducing a computerized land information system, decreasing the time to complete a transfer by 15 days.

Bhutan has been advancing steadily in recent years in improving its regulatory environment and making it more business friendly. In doing so, the country can stimulate both entrepreneurship and job creation for its population,” said Genevieve Boyreau, the World Bank’s Country Representative for Bhutan. “Through thoughtful and well-executed policies and reforms that support improvements in the business environment, Bhutan has the potential to foster a dynamic and expanding private sector that will help realize its development aspirations. The World Bank supports in Bhutan a better investment climate for private sector through a series of Development Policy Credits and technical assistance.”

This year’s Doing Business report completes a two-year effort to expand benchmarks that measure the quality of regulation, as well as efficiency of the business regulatory framework, in order to better capture realities on the ground. In this report, five indicators saw changes - Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, Enforcing Contracts, Registering Property and Trading across Borders. For example, the indicators on Dealing with Construction Permits which previously measured the procedures, time and cost to comply with the formalities to build a warehouse now also measures, through the Building Quality Control index, good practices in construction regulation. Notably, Bhutan performs well on this new index scoring 13 out of 15- the same score as Ireland. The economy also scores well on the new index for Registering Property, Quality of Land Administration. The score of 24 out of 30 indicates Bhutan has a high quality of infrastructure for ensuring the reliability of information on property titles and boundaries as well as a high level of geographic coverage in land ownership registration and cadastral mapping.

The World Bank in Bhutan:

The World Bank strategy in Bhutan focuses on improving rural livelihoods and managing urbanization while protecting its natural assets. It has currently committed $191 million in concessional development credits, a number of technical assistance grants and analytical work for these areas to improve fiscal and spending efficiency, fostering private sector growth and competitiveness and supporting green development. Private sector development is one of the key priorities of the World Bank Group in Bhutan, through supporting a good environment for private sector investment and job creation.

The full report and accompanying datasets are available at: www.doingbusiness.org

Media Contacts
In Thimphu
Genevieve Boyreau
Tel : 975-1712-4534
In Washington
Joe Qian
Tel : (202) 473-5633