By Chandeepa Wettasinghe
Sri Lanka’s Ease of Doing Business ranking slipped eight positions to the 107th place for 2015 from the 99th position in 2014, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report that was released Tuesday.
However, the country’s distance to frontier score (DTF), which measures how closer an economy is to the ideal regulatory landscape, improved to 58.96 from 57.50, out of a possible 100, based on a revised calculation method implemented this year.
The report noted that Sri Lanka has simplified post-registration procedures for companies while also streamlining construction permits and reducing time for processing construction permits.
“Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement to notify the Registrar of Companies of the payment of stamp duty for the initial issuance of shares (and) made dealing with construction permits less time-consuming by streamlining the internal review process for building permit applications,” the report added.
The snapshot was created on June 1, 2015, during the middle of the interim governing period, which may explain why despite the new government’s promises to improve the business environment a revolutionary improvement was not witnessed.
Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake had started an Ease of Doing Business forum in May to address relevant issues, the fourth edition of which was held on October 1.
In the sub categories of World Bank’s measurements, protecting Sri Lanka’s minority investors ranked the best at 49th with a DTF score of 60, starting a business was ranked 98th with a score of 84.98 and dealing with construction permits rank was 77th with a score of 70.39.
Getting electricity ranked 81st with a DTF score of 70.82, registering properties came in at 153rd with a score of 46.76, getting credit ranked 97th with a score of 45, paying taxes ranked 158th with a score of 55.23, enforcing contracts ranked 161st with a score of 39.31, trading across borders ranked 90th with a score of 70.70 and resolving insolvency ranked 78th with a score of 46.40.
Singapore came first on the rankings with a DTF score of 87.34. New Zealand, Denmark, South Korea, Hong Kong, the UK, the US, Sweden, Norway and Finland comprised the rest of the top 10 in order.
In South Asia, Bhutan ranked first with a global rank of 71 with a DTF score of 65.21, while Nepal came second as the 99th with a DTF score of 60.41.
The Maldives was ranked 128th, India 134th, Pakistan 138th, Bangladesh 174th and Afghanistan 177th.
China was ranked 84th with a DTF score of 62.93.