Wednesday 24 January 2018

Ireland crashes out of top ten easiest countries to do business survey – World Bank

Thomas Molloy

Thomas Molloy

IRELAND crashed out of the top ten countries which ranked as the world's easiest place to do business, according to a World Bank report.

Ireland fell from 10th ranking to 15th ranking in the annual "Doing Business" report from the World Bank and its private-sector lending arm, the International Finance Corp.

Singapore retained its number one rank for the seventh year in a row, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the United States and Denmark. Georgia and Australia also broke into the coveted top 10 rankings, edging out Iceland as well as Ireland.

The report tracks regulations that affect a company from the ease of starting a new business to how long it takes to fill out taxes or register property. The rankings also consider general legal protection.

Greece and Italy both made vast improvements in their business-related rules but were still well behind Ireland, according to the report which is often used by companies looking to make foreign direct investment.

An improved business climate can help encourage growth, reducing the debt burden, the World Bank said.

In the past year, Greece was the eighth "most improved" country in the world, moving up 22 places in the rankings to be the 78th easiest place for business.

The report's findings over the past 10 years point to a general convergence between the world's best and worst places to do business, as globalization drives investment to wherever it is welcome.

But a few countries have fallen behind. In the Middle East and North Africa, the pace of regulatory change has slowed since the Arab Spring uprisings last year, as governments struggle to deal with a range of political, social and economic issues.

Poland made the greatest improvements in business friendly reforms in the past year as the country led a rush of business-friendly changes across Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

Poland, eastern Europe's largest economy, made it easier to register property, pay taxes, enforce contracts and resolve business insolvency, making it the most improved country out of the 185 tracked in the report.

The desire to catch up with more established European Union members continues to drive improvements in business regulations in Eastern Europe, as it has over the past decade, the report said.

And Venezuela slipped three places from last year and is now sixth from last. It consistently underperforms other Latin American countries in areas such as the time it takes to start a business, ease of paying taxes, and legal protections for borrowers and lenders.

Under Hugo Chavez, the country's long-serving socialist president, Venezuela has implemented a raft of nationalisations and is increasingly reliant on its vast oil reserves.

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