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Business Reforms

From May 2, 2018 to May 1, 2019, 115 economies implemented 294 business regulatory reforms across the 10 areas measured by Doing Business. Most of these reforms addressed aspects of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, and paying taxes; the least reformed area was resolving insolvency. The most common reform features included advancing the functionality of credit bureaus and registries, developing or enhancing online platforms to comply with regulatory requirements, improving the reliability of power supply, reducing certain taxes, strengthening minority investor protections, streamlining property registration processes, and automating international trade logistics. Low-income economies accounted for 11% of all the regulatory changes, with Togo implementing the highest number of reforms (five). Since Doing Business 2005 more than 3,800 business regulatory reforms have been implemented across the 190 economies measured by Doing Business. The majority of these reforms have been made in middle-income economies. View a breakdown of reforms since Doing Business 2005. Please note that short summaries of Doing Business reforms are available from Doing Business 2008 onwards.


Reform summaries since Doing Business 2008

 

Table 1. Who reduced regulatory complexity and cost or strengthened legal institutions in 2018/19and what did they do?

Feature

Economies

Some highlights

Making it easier to start a business

Simplified preregistration and registration formalities (publication, notarization, and other requirements)

Bahamas, The; Bangladesh; Brazil; Chile; Congo Dem. Rep.; Croatia; Cyprus; Equatorial Guinea; Eswatini; Greece; Grenada; Guinea; Honduras; India; Lao PDR; Nigeria; Pakistan; Slovak Republic; Togo; United Arab Emirates; Zimbabwe

The Lao People’s Democratic Republic made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement to obtain proof of business location from the Village Chief Authority for business registration. Togo made starting a business easier by abolishing the requirement to notarize company documents and reducing the time to register a company.

Abolished or reduced minimum capital requirement

BelgiumCroatia; Dominican Republic; Philippines; San Marino

Belgium eliminated the paid-in minimum capital requirement with the introduction of the new companies and associations code.

Cut or simplified postregistration procedures (tax registration, social security registration, licensing)

Cabo Verde; Colombia; Gambia, The; Indonesia (Jakarta); Israel; Lesotho; Malta; Romania; Rwanda

Rwanda made starting a business easier by exempting newly-formed small and medium enterprises from paying the trading license tax for their first two years of operation.

Introduced or improved online procedures

Antigua and BarbudaBahamas, TheBrazilEswatini; Finland; Indonesia (Jakarta); Kuwait; Malta; MyanmarNigeriaPakistan; United States (Los Angeles)Zimbabwe

Antigua and Barbuda made starting a business faster by improving exchange of information between public entities involved in company incorporation. Myanmar made starting a business easier by introducing an online platform for company registration and reducing incorporation fees.

Created or improved one-stop shop

China (Beijing); Egypt, Arab Rep.; Gabon; Kazakhstan; Kuwait; MaltaPakistan; Saudi Arabia; Tajikistan; Tunisia

Malta made starting a business easier by implementing a one-stop-shop for registration of employer, employees and value added tax. Tunisia made starting a business easier by merging more services into the one-stop shop and by reducing fees.

Making it easier to deal with construction permits

Reduced time for processing permit applications

Argentina; Bahrain; Cabo Verde; ChinaIndia; Kuwait; Mauritius; MyanmarPakistan; RwandaTogo; UkraineUnited Arab Emirates

Rwanda made dealing with construction permits faster by reducing the time to obtain the water and sewerage connection.

Streamlined procedures

Argentina; Bahrain; China; Gabon; Hong Kong SAR, ChinaIndia; Kazakhstan; Kosovo; Kuwait; Malaysia; Mauritius; Moldova; MoroccoPakistan; Philippines; Saudi Arabia; Seychelles; Singapore; Thailand; UkraineZimbabwe

Malaysia streamlined the process of dealing with construction permits by eliminating the road and drainage inspection performed by Kuala Lumpur City Hall.

Adopted new building regulations

Armenia; ChinaCongo, Dem. Rep.; Ethiopia; Gabon; Georgia; Hong Kong SAR, ChinaIndia (Delhi); Kenya; Moldova; Myanmar; Rwanda; Singapore; Thailand

Armenia and Myanmar strengthened construction quality control by imposing stricter qualification requirements for architects and engineers.

Improved transparency

Eswatini; Georgia; Kenya; MyanmarTogoZimbabwe

Eswatini, Georgia and Kenya improved their building quality control by increasing public access to information.

Reduced fees

BahrainCroatia; DenmarkIndia; Kazakhstan; Kenya; Morocco; NepalNigeria (Lagos); Serbia; SingaporeTogo; Ukraine

Nepal made dealing with construction permits easier and less costly by reducing the fees to obtain a building permit.

Introduced or improved one-stop shop

PakistanZimbabwe

Pakistan made obtaining a construction permit easier and faster by streamlining the approval process and by improving the operational efficiency of its one-stop shop for construction permitting.

Improved or introduced electronic platforms or online services

Argentina; Bahrain; Cabo Verde; ChinaIndia; Kuwait; Morocco; Nepal; Saudi Arabia; Serbia; SingaporeTogo; Ukraine

Argentina made dealing with construction permits easier by implementing an electronic platform for building permit applications and streamlining procedures.

Making it easier to get electricity

Improved reliability of supply

Albania; Costa Rica; Egypt, Arab Rep.; Indonesia (Surabaya); Kenya; Kosovo; Kyrgyz RepublicLao PDR; Malta; Rwanda; Serbia; Uganda; Ukraine

The Arab Republic of Egypt implemented automated systems to monitor power outages and restore service. Kenya improved the reliability of power supply by modernizing its infrastructure and by inaugurating a new substation in Nairobi. Ukraine introduced compensation to customers for power outages.

Improved transparency of tariffs

Bahamas, The; China; Egypt, Arab Rep.Pakistan

The Bahamas started publishing electricity tariffs online.

Reduced time to obtain a new connection

BahrainBangladesh (Dhaka); Barbados; Belize; Costa RicaEswatini; Ghana; Indonesia (Surabaya); KuwaitLao PDR; Morocco; OmanPakistan; Poland; Qatar; Russian Federation; Saudi Arabia; Ukraine

Barbados made getting electricity faster by deploying new software to process applications for a connection, by increasing the stock of material for connection works and by offering training programs to utility staff. Lao PDR reduced the time for a new connection by allocating more staff to process connection requests. Pakistan launched online portals for applications for a new connection and enforced service delivery time frames.

Streamlined approval process

Cabo Verde; China; El Salvador; Kuwait; Lithuania; MoroccoNigeria; Saudi Arabia

Kuwait digitized the application process, combined connection works and meter installations and launched a geographic information system to streamline the review of connection requests.

Reduced connection costs

Bangladesh (Dhaka); Cabo Verde; LithuaniaTogo

Lithuania reduced the cost of new connections. Togo reduced the cost of connection works and the security deposit charged for new connections.

Making it easier to register property

Increased reliability of infrastructure

Azerbaijan; Bahrain; BeninBrazil; Cabo VerdeNigeria (Lagos)

Bahrain introduced a new internal network for property registration, the electronic Registration Workflow System (eRWS). Azerbaijan formally mapped and completed registration of every privately-held land plot in Baku.

Increased transparency of information

Azerbaijan; Bahrain; BeninBrazil; Cabo Verde; EcuadorEswatini; Ethiopia; Kuwait; Mauritius; MyanmarPakistan; QatarTogo; Tunisia; UkraineZimbabwe

Kuwait published official service standards on property transfers. Ethiopia made the list of documents required for completing property registration, official statistics tracking the number of transactions at the immovable property registration agency and service standards publicly available online.

Reduced taxes or fees

CroatiaGuinea; JamaicaTogo; Turkey

Croatia reduced the real estate tax from 4% to 3%. Togo lowered notary and registration fees. Guinea reduced the fees to register the sale contract with the National Tax Authorities from 5% to 2% of the property value.

Reduced time

Brazil (Rio de Janeiro); Cabo Verde; ChadCroatia; Ecuador; Kuwait; Mauritius; Myanmar; OmanPakistan; Qatar; Tunisia; TurkeyZimbabwe

Brazil (Rio de Janeiro) introduced an online site to request the 20-year certificate (certid?o de matrícula). Mauritius provided notaries with online access to its database to conduct title searches and check for encumbrances.

Increased administrative efficiency

BahrainBrazil; Kuwait; QatarTogo

Qatar streamlined the property registration process into one procedure by creating a one-stop shop, thereby eliminating interactions between applicants and Ministry employees. In Togo, submission of the transfer documents and payment of the registration fee are now completed in one step at the same office.

Strengthening legal rights of borrowers and lenders

Created a unified and/or modern collateral registry for movable property

Djibouti; Jordan; Kenya; Tajikistan

Kenya established a modern collateral registry.

Introduced a functional and

secured transactions system

Djibouti; Jordan; Tajikistan

Jordan strengthened access to credit by implementing a functional secured transactions system. The new law regulates functional equivalents to loans secured with movable property, such as financial leases and fiduciary transfer of title.

Allowed for general description of assets that can be used as collateral

Jordan; Tajikistan

Tajikistan allowed the general description of current and future assets that can be used as collateral.

Expanded range of movable assets that can be used as collateral

Azerbaijan; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Saudi Arabia; Tajikistan

Kazakhstan broadened the scope of assets which can be used as collateral to secure a loan.

Granted absolute priority to secured creditors or allowed out-of-court enforcement

Azerbaijan; Bahrain; Jordan; Kazakhstan; Saudi Arabia; TajikistanZimbabwe

Zimbabwe introduced a new law that grants secured creditors absolute priority over other claims within insolvency proceedings.

Granted exemptions to secured creditors from automatic stay in insolvency proceedings

Bahrain; Jordan; Tajikistan

Bahrain adopted a new law on insolvency that contemplates protections for secured creditors during an automatic stay in reorganization proceedings.

Improving the sharing of credit information

Established a new credit bureau or registry

Mauritania; Ukraine

Ukraine improved access to credit information by launching a new credit registry.

Improved regulatory framework for credit reporting

Cameroon; Central African Republic; ChadCongo, Rep.Equatorial Guinea; Gabon; St. Kitts and Nevis

St. Kitts and Nevis improved access to credit information through the introduction of regulation that governs the licensing and functioning of credit bureaus in the member states of the East Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).

Expanded scope of information collected and reported by credit bureau or registry

Australia; Israel; Kazakhstan; Niger; QatarTogo; Vietnam

In Vietnam, one retailer began submitting positive and negative information on consumer accounts to the credit bureau.

Introduced bureau or registry credit scores as a value-added service

Jordan; Kuwait; Kyrgyz Republic; Mauritania

In Jordan, the credit bureau began offering credit scores to banks and other financial institutions to better inform their lending decisions. 

Guaranteed by law borrowers’ right to inspect data

Kuwait

Kuwait adopted a law guaranteeing borrowers’ right to inspect their own data.

Expanded borrower coverage by credit bureau or registry

Bangladesh; Haiti; Nepal; Niger; SenegalTogo

Haiti expanded the number of borrowers listed by its credit registry with information on their borrowing history from the past five years to more than 5% of the adult population.

Strengthening minority investor protections

Expanded shareholders’ role in company management

ArmeniaBahamas, The; Bahrain; China; Djibouti; Egypt, Arab. Rep.Greece; Kenya; Kosovo; Kuwait; Lithuania; Morocco; Myanmar; Oman; Russian Federation; Serbia; Spain; Uzbekistan; Zambia

In Kenya, shareholders now have the final say on the election and dismissal of the external auditor. Oman promulgated a new Commercial Companies Law enabling shareholders to decide on major transactions.

Increased disclosure requirements for related-party transactions

ArmeniaBahamas, TheGreece; Kosovo; Myanmar

Philippines; Serbia; Ukraine

In Greece, an amendment to the legal framework applicable to joint-stock companies requires board members to fully disclose the nature and extent of their conflicts of interest, and an independent auditor must review the terms of proposed transactions with interested parties.

Increased director liability

Azerbaijan; China; Myanmar; PhilippinesUnited Arab Emirates

The Philippines Securities and Exchange Commission can now disqualify directors from serving in the management of any company for one year if a court finds that they took advantage of a conflict of interest.

Enhanced access to information in shareholder actions

Kosovo; Saudi Arabia

Kosovo adopted a new Law on Business Organizations that gives shareholders broader access to company documents before filing a lawsuit.

Making it easier to pay taxes

Introduced or enhanced electronic systems

Bahamas, The; Bahrain; China; C?te d'IvoireCyprus; Egypt, Arab Rep.; Hungary; Indonesia; Israel; Jordan; Kenya; Korea, Rep.; Kyrgyz RepublicPakistan; Russian Federation; Senegal; Vietnam

Indonesia introduced an online system for filing and paying payroll taxes and value added tax. Online filing of payroll taxes is mandatory for companies with more than 20 employees. Online value added tax filing is mandatory for companies with more than 20 value added tax transactions in one month.

Reduced profit tax rate, allowed for more tax-deductible expenses and made changes to tax depreciation rules

Belgium; ChinaCongo, Dem. Rep.; Gambia, The; Israel; MoroccoPakistan; St. Vincent and the Grenadines; United States

The United States decreased the corporate income tax rate from 34% to 21% in 2018. Morocco replaced the 30% flat corporate income tax rate with a progressive tax scale as of January 1, 2018.

Reduced labor taxes and mandatory contributions, or taxes other than profit and labor

Belgium; Gambia, The; Hungary; Moldova; Romania

Hungary reduced the social tax rate paid by the employer from 22% to 19.5% as of January 1, 2018.

Merged or eliminated taxes

Kyrgyz Republic; Papua New Guinea; Romania; Senegal; Uzbekistan

Uzbekistan merged the infrastructure tax with the corporate income tax in 2018. Papua New Guinea abolished the Training Levy as of January 1, 2018.

Improved VAT refund process

Armenia; C?te d'Ivoire; Papua New Guinea; Russian Federation; Serbia; Turkey

Armenia amended its value added tax law to allow cash refunds for all cases as of 2018. Value added tax cash refunds are no longer restricted to international traders. C?te d'Ivoire introduced an electronic case management system for processing value added tax cash refunds.

Improved tax audit processes and correction of corporate income tax processes

Hungary; Trinidad and Tobago; Tunisia

Tunisia put in place an automatic risk-based system for selecting companies for direct tax audits.

Making it easier to trade across borders

Introduced or improved electronic submission and processing of documents for exports

Argentina; Armenia; Barbados; ColombiaIndia; Indonesia; Kuwait; MoroccoNigeria; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Saudi ArabiaUnited Arab Emirates

The United Arab Emirates introduced electronic certificates of origin. Argentina streamlined import licensing. Papua New Guinea reduced export and import documentary compliance time by implementing an automated customs data management system.

Introduced or improved electronic submission and processing of documents for imports

Argentina; ChinaIndia; Kuwait; MoroccoNigeria; Papua New Guinea; Peru; Saudi Arabia; Sierra Leone; Uruguay; Uzbekistan

India enhanced electronic submission of documents by integrating several government agencies into the online system e-Sanchit. Sierra Leone upgraded its customs electronic data interchange system to ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) World.

Strengthened border infrastructure for exports

Bahrain; ChinaIndia; Morocco; Nepal; Oman; Saudi Arabia

Bahrain deployed new scanners at King Fahd Causeway and established differentiated lanes for border crossing. Nepal opened an Integrated Check Post in Birgunj, a joint customs and border checkpoint between Nepal and India.

Strengthened border infrastructure for imports

Barbados; ChinaIndia; Morocco; Nepal; Oman; Saudi Arabia

India and Saudi Arabia made importing easier by upgrading port infrastructure. Morocco introduced e-payments for port fees through the Tanger Med Information System.

Enhanced customs administration and inspections for exports and imports

Barbados; Belize; ChinaIndia; Israel; Kuwait; NepalNigeria; OmanPakistan; Saudi Arabia; Tajikistan; UkraineUnited Arab Emirates; Uzbekistan

China introduced advanced import declarations. Oman and Uzbekistan introduced risk management systems. Pakistan enhanced the integration of various agencies in the Web-Based One Customs (WEBOC) electronic system as well as the coordination of joint physical inspections at the port.

Making it easier to enforce contracts

Introduced significant changes to the applicable civil procedure or enforcement rules

Bahrain; China; Costa Rica; Mauritania; Moldova; NepalNigeria; North Macedonia

Costa Rica and Nigeria issued new civil procedure rules to introduce a pre-trial conference as part of the case management techniques used in court. Mauritania and Moldova adopted laws that set a simplified procedure to resolve small claims. North Macedonia reduced the enforcement fees.

Expanded court automation by introducing electronic payment, electronic service of process or automatic assignment of cases to judges

Argentina; Bahrain; Germany; Morocco; United States (Los Angeles)

Argentina and the United States (Los Angeles) implemented a platform to pay fees electronically. Morocco introduced random and automated assignment of cases to judges throughout the courts. Bahrain and Germany implemented electronic service of process.

Introduced or expanded the electronic case management system

Brunei Darussalam; China (Shanghai); C?te d’Ivoire; Indonesia; Jamaica; Madagascar; Mauritius; Morocco; Myanmar; Paraguay; Saudi Arabia; Uzbekistan

Indonesia and Paraguay introduced an electronic case management system. Brunei Darussalam, China (Shanghai), C?te d’Ivoire, Jamaica, Madagascar, Mauritius, Myanmar and Saudi Arabia introduced the possibility of generating performance measurement reports and made them available publicly.

Introduced electronic filing

Azerbaijan; Germany; United States (Los Angeles)

Azerbaijan, Germany and the United States (Los Angeles) introduced an electronic filing system for commercial cases, allowing attorneys to submit the initial summons online.

Introduced or expanded specialized commercial court

Bahrain; Dominican Republic; South Africa

Bahrain, the Dominican Republic and South Africa introduced dedicated venues to resolve commercial disputes.

Expanded the alternative dispute resolution framework

Azerbaijan; Barbados; Dominican Republic; Kosovo; Lebanon; Mauritania; Serbia; Uzbekistan

Barbados, the Dominican Republic, Kosovo, Lebanon and Mauritania adopted laws that regulate all aspects of mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism. Azerbaijan, Serbia and Uzbekistan introduced financial incentives for mediation.

Making it easier to resolve insolvency

Introduced a new restructuring procedure

Bahrain; Jordan; Saudi Arabia; ZambiaZimbabwe

Bahrain introduced the option of reorganization for commercial entities as an alternative to the previously-available option of liquidation and allowed the debtor to initiate the reorganization procedure.

Improved the likelihood of successful reorganization

Bahrain; China; DjiboutiIndia; Mauritius; Saudi Arabia; ZambiaZimbabwe

Zambia allowed debtors to obtain new financing after the commencement of insolvency proceedings and defined the priority of new financing.

Improved provisions on treatment of contracts during insolvency

Bahrain; Jordan; Kenya; Mauritius; Saudi Arabia

Jordan allowed the continuation of the debtor’s essential contracts during insolvency proceedings and provided for the rejection by the debtor of overly burdensome contracts.

Strengthened creditors’ rights

 

Brunei Darussalam; China; Colombia; Saudi Arabia; Serbia

Serbia granted all creditors the right to request and receive from the administrator (insolvency representative) all the information related to the debtor, including information on the course of insolvency proceedings and the management of the debtor’s property.

Changes in employing workers

Altered hiring rules

Djibouti; Italy; North Macedonia; South Africa; Suriname

Djibouti and South Africa introduced a minimum wage. Italy and Suriname reduced the maximum cumulative duration of fixed-term contracts. North Macedonia decreased the length of the probationary period.

Amended regulation of working hours

Austria; Hungary; Luxembourg; Malta; Rwanda; Slovak Republic

Luxembourg and Malta increased paid annual leave. Hungary and Austria amended overtime hours. The Slovak Republic increased wage premiums for work performed during days of weekly rest and at night.

Changed redundancy rules and cost

North Macedonia; Rwanda

North Macedonia and Rwanda introduced priority rules pertaining to reemployment and increased severance payments. North Macedonia also introduced priority rules for redundancies.

 
Source: Doing Business database.
Note: Reforms affecting the employing workers indicators are included here but do not affect the ranking on the ease of doing business.Image
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