Malé, October 25, 2016 – Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, report launched today finds Maldives has maintained its Distance to Frontier score while the overall rank has slipped to 135 on the ease of doing business, compared to 128 in last year’s report. The change in rank does not reflect an actual worsening of the variables covered under Doing Business in Maldives over the past year, rather, it reflects the fact that during the last year there were no reforms on these areas, while peer economies did undertake substantive reforms. The change in overall ranking is also a result of data revisions related to paying taxes, gender dimension and protection of minority investors.
On the Distance to Frontier metric, based on the use of a comparable methodology, Maldives’s scores moved marginally from 53.99 in Doing Business 2016 to 53.94 in Doing Business 2017. The distance to frontier score captures the gap between an economy’s performance and a measure of best practice across the entire sample of 36 indicators for 10 Doing Business topics.
“This year’s Doing Business report identifies areas where the business environment in Maldives is challenging to the private sector” said Idah Pswarayi-Riddihough, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka and the Maldives. “Simplified procedures would go a long way in enabling the creation of more and better jobs for the Maldivian youth while also inspiring entrepreneurship.”
Released today, the report records a total of 11 reforms by five of the South Asian Region’s eight economies in the past year. Pakistan was one of the global top 10 improvers. Three reforms were implemented in the areas of Getting Credit, Registering Property and Trading Across Borders. India and Sri Lanka implemented four and two reforms, respectively. Among other things, India made Paying Taxes easier by introducing an electronic system for paying employee state insurance contributions. Additionally, India made Enforcing Contracts easier by creating dedicated divisions to resolve commercial cases.
The region’s economies perform best in the Doing Business areas of Protecting Minority Investors (with an average rank of 80) and Starting a Business (100). Except for the Maldives, no economy in the South Asia region has a minimum capital requirement for starting a business.
For the first time, Doing Business 2017 includes a gender dimension in three indicators: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. The report finds that gender barriers exist in Afghanistan and Pakistan for women entrepreneurs. For instance, married women in Afghanistan are required to obtain permission to leave the home prior to registering a company.
The Paying Taxes indicator has been expanded to cover post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refund. The report finds that audit compliance time is considerably high in Afghanistan.
The report cites research that demonstrates that better performance in Doing Business is, on average, associated with lower levels of income inequality, thereby reducing poverty and boosting shared prosperity.
The full report and accompanying datasets are available at www.doingbusiness.org