Economies in the East Asia and Pacific region carried out 33 business-climate-enhancing reforms during the past year, said World Bank that recently released its Doing Business 2020 Study report.
The study, according to the bank, documents reforms implemented in 10 areas of business activity in 190 economies over a 12-month period ending May 1, 2019 and evaluates regulations enhancing or constraining business activity for small and medium-size enterprises.
Those 10 areas measured in the report are: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.
While many in East Asia and Pacific made doing business easy for small and medium-sized entrepreneurs by global standards, the overall pace of reforms slowed, the bank noted.
The number of reforms in the region fell by ten over the 12-month period and reforms were implemented in fewer than half of its economies (12 out of 25), World Bank added.
Asian economies among the top 25
Even so, five are among the top 25 global performers, including Singapore (2nd), Hong Kong SAR, China (3rd); Malaysia (12th); Taiwan, China (15th); and Thailand (21st), according to the report.
Globally, governments of 115 economies launched 294 reforms over the past year to make doing business easier for their domestic private sector, paving the way for more jobs, expanded commercial activity, and higher incomes for many, the World Bank said.
“Governments can foster market-oriented development and broad-based growth by creating rules that help businesses launch, hire, and expand,” World Bank Group President David Malpass said. “Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues, and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards.”
The 10 economies with the highest scores
The ten economies scoring the highest on the ease of doing business rankings were as follow:
- New Zealand
- Hong Kong
- South Korea
- the US
- the UK
Top performers typically had online business incorporation processes, electronic tax filing platforms, and online procedures for property transfers.
The top 10 scoring high in improvements
The ten economies where business climates improved the most were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria, the study found.