World Bank: Belarus enters list of top ten regulatory reformers

According to Doing Business 2009, the sixth annual report published by the World Bank and IFC, the Republic of Belarus entered the list of ten top countries - regulatory reformers, BelTA learnt from the representative office of the World Bank in Belarus.

From June 2007 to June 2008, Belarus made improvements in six out of 10 indicators of regulatory reform to take the fourth place in the list of top ten regulatory reformers. The country moved up a full 30 slots, from 115 to 85, in the overall ease of doing business.

The report provides the information that Belarus' public credit registry expanded credit information by eliminating the minimum threshold for loans recorded in its database. Starting a business became easier: a unified registry database was created, a time limit was introduced for registration, and the minimum capital requirement was cut by half.

Belarus created a one-stop shop for property registration and introduced a broad administrative simplification program that set strict time limits at the registry and computerized its records. As a result, the time required to register property in Belarus fell from 231 days to 21.

The time required for dealing with construction permits fell by 140 days, thanks to new statutory time limits for preapproval clearances and building permits.

A new customs code and new banking regulations simplified the rules of trade in Belarus. Belarus eased the tax burden on some duties and amended the simplified tax system for small businesses.

World Bank Group representative in the Republic of Belarus Craig Bell noted: "This year Belarus' impressive results in the Doing Business rating show the attempts of the country to introduce reforms and improve the business and investment climate. Stable and versatile reform efforts will continue Belarus' advancement in Doing Business rating".

According to the World Bank, the top 10 are, in order, Azerbaijan, Albania, the Kyrgyz Republic, Belarus, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Botswana, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Egypt. Between June 2007 and June 2008, 23 of the region's 25 countries implemented 62 reforms that make it easier to do business -over 25 percent of the total worldwide.

"Countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia continue to lead the world in easing the regulatory burden on business and in sustaining their reform agendas," co-author of the report Svetlana Bagaudinova said. Many countries that made improvements this year looked to earlier pacesetters for ideas on how to reform their regulations. It is obvious that Belarus' reform in doing business has been determined as one of the top-priority goals and at present we estimate the first achievements of this work," she added.

Singapore leads the global rankings on the overall regulatory ease of doing business for a third consecutive year. New Zealand is runner-up, and the United States third. Top-ranked countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia are Georgia (15), Estonia (22), Lithuania (28), Latvia (29), and Azerbaijan (33).

Doing Business 2009 ranks 181 economies on the overall ease of doing business in 10 indicators of the governmental regulation of doing business including the time and cost of business opening, transborder trade, taxes and business closing. The ratings do not embrace such areas as macroeconomic policy, the quality of the infrastructure, currency stability, investors and the crime rate.

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