|This year, Viet Nam is ranked 99th out of 189 economies, signalling that the country needs to do even more in order to improve its position on the list.— Photo cafef
HA NOI (VNS)— A new World Bank Group report finds that Viet Nam's stronger investor protection and improved access to credit made doing business easier for local firms between July 2012 and June 2013.
The report, Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises, finds that since 2005, 24 of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific made their regulatory environment more business-friendly.
Across the globe, Singapore continues to provide the world's most business-friendly regulatory environment for local entrepreneurs, followed by Hong Kong Special Administration Region, China, the report found.
In the past year, 15 of 25 economies in the region implemented at least one regulatory reform aimed at making it easier to do business.
Among the region's economies, China made the greatest progress during that time in improving business regulations for local entrepreneurs.
Although the report finds that Viet Nam has implemented 21 reforms – the highest number in East Asia Pacific – since 2005, the country's ranking has not improved much over the years.
This year, Viet Nam is ranked 99th out of 189 economies, signalling that the country needs to do even more in order to improve its position on the list.
"œViet Nam has undertaken important reforms during the past nine years to strengthen its business environment, but much work still needs to be done to sustain its competitiveness, especially in adopting international best practices in regulating businesses."
The remark was made by Wendy Werner, investment climate advisory services manager for East Asia and the Pacific at IFC, a member of the World Bank Group.
In the past year, Viet Nam strengthened investor protection by introducing greater disclosure requirements for listed companies in cases of related-party transactions.
In addition, the country granted the first private credit bureau license following the issuance of a decree in 2010 that laid down the legal framework for establishing such bureaus.
Viet Nam, however, made paying taxes more costly for companies by increasing employers' social security contribution rate.
Globally, the Philippines is among the 10 economies that improved the most in making regulation easier for businesses over the past year.
The government implemented regulatory reforms in three areas.
The introduction of a fully operational online filing and payment system made tax compliance easier for companies.
Simplified occupancy clearances eased construction permitting. And new regulations guarantee borrowers' right to access their data in the country's largest credit bureau.
"œFor the first time, this year's Doing Business report measures regulations in Myanmar, a country that has started to open up to the global economy after years of isolation," said Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of Global Indicators and Analysis for the World Bank Group.
"œThe data show that there is considerable scope for reform, and efforts are under way to improve the country's business regulations. By removing bottlenecks to firm creation and growth, governments can signal the emergence of a more business-friendly environment, as has already been done in a large number of economies in the region."
Joining Singapore and Hong Kong, China, on the list of the 10 economies with the most business-friendly regulations this year are New Zealand, the US, Denmark, Malaysia, the Republic of Korea, Georgia, Norway and the UK.
This year's report features a case study on the Republic of Korea's electronic court system for enforcing contracts, Malaysia's electronic system for paying taxes, and Singapore's single-window system for trading across borders.
In addition to the global rankings, every year the Doing Business reports the economies that have improved the most on the indicators since the previous year.
The 10 economies topping the list this year are, in order of improvement: Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philippines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Cote d'Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and Guatemala.
Yet challenges persist: five of this year's top improvers – Burundi, Cote d'Ivoire, Djibouti, the Philippines and Ukraine – are still in the bottom half of the global ranking on the ease of doing business. — VNS