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PRESS RELEASE November 8, 2017

Doing Business 2018: Recent Reforms in Iraq Pave the Way for More Progress Going Forward

Baghdad, November 8, 2017- The newly released Doing Business Report 2018 titled Reforming to Create Jobs finds that Iraq has implemented in 2016/17 substantive changes in the local regulatory framework in two main areas: Starting a Business and Getting credit.

In fact, starting a business in Iraq has become easier by combining multiple registration procedures and reducing the time to register a company. Entrepreneurs are no longer required to register separately with the tax authority. Furthermore, the time required to register a company has declined due to an increase in resources at the registry, and an improvement of the online registration system.
Iraq has also improved access to credit information by launching a new credit registry managed by the Central Bank of Iraq. As of January 1, 2017, the registry listed 234,967 consumers and 4,877 commercial borrowers with information on their borrowing history within the past five years.

Doing Business data show that fragile economies are reforming and approaching crises as opportunities
for better business regulations,”
said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Mashreq Regional Director. “As part of its Vision 2030 program, the Government of Iraq is embarking on a substantive reform agenda that builds on the Governmental General Framework Program (2014-2018) which prioritizes institutional economic reforms and private sector development. The World Bank Group is committed to support its efforts in identifying and pushing forward priority reforms that can help foster the business environment and generate growth and better opportunities for all Iraqis.”

Overall, Iraq ranked at 168 on the ease of doing business, compared to 165 in last year’s report. It should be noted, however, that these two rankings are not comparable because of the introduction of some methodology refinement and data revisions that impact how countries rank. In the Doing Business 2017 report, the paying taxes indicator was expanded to include post-filing processes—the processes that occur after a firm complies with its regular tax obligations. This year, the methodology was further refined in accordance to best practices. In particular, the indicator reviewed the way it captures value added tax and corporate income tax audits.

On the distance to frontier (DTF) metric, Iraq’s score went from 44.39 in Doing Business 2017 to 44.87 in Doing Business 2018, using a comparable methodology. This means, that in the last year, Iraq has improved its business regulations as captured by the Doing Business indicators in absolute terms—the country is narrowing the gap with the global regulatory frontier.



Ashraf Al-Saeed
Reem Hadi Suwaed
Zeina El Khalil