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NEWS

Central Asian Countries among Top Improvers in Doing Business 2016 report

www.worldbank.org
30 October 2015

Today, the World Bank Group hosted the regional launch ofDoing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency in Central Asia. In this year's report, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, implemented a total of 14 reforms in 9 of the 10 indicators included in the ease of doing business ranking.

Almaty, Astana, Bishkek, Dushanbe, and Tashkent were connected by video link for a presentation and discussion of the 2016 results in improving the business climate in Central Asia. The representatives of the governments, business community, academia, development agencies and media discussed the role of a good business environment in attracting investment, supporting entrepreneurship, and generating jobs.

Kazakhstan, with a global ranking of 41, was one of this year's top 10 improvers. The country implemented the most reforms globally with a total of 7 in the following areas: Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, Registering Property, Getting Credit, Protecting Minority Investors, Enforcing Contracts, and Resolving Insolvency. Most notable improvements took place in Starting a Business by elimination of company seal, registration fee and decrease of registration time and in Protecting Minority Investors by increasing transparency of related-party transactions, providing more ways of collecting evidence for trials, limiting possibilities to change shareholders' rights and increasing transparency of information about board member's affiliations.

The Kyrgyz Republic, with a global ranking of 67, implemented two reforms in areas measured by Doing Business. The economy eased the process of property registration by introducing a widely used online procedure for obtaining the non-encumbrance certificates and improved access to credit information.

Tajikistan improved by 6 positions compared to last year's adjusted ranking, moving from 138 to 132. This improvement was due in part to reforms in the areas of Paying Taxes and Trade across Borders. Also, Tajikistan made trading across borders easier by making it possible to submit customs declarations electronically.

Uzbekistan, with a global ranking of 87, was also one of the top 10 improvers in this year's report. It made starting a business easier by introducing an online one-stop shop and streamlining registration procedures. The country also improved access to credit by adopting new laws on secured transactions that allow a general description of assets granted as collateral and established a modern, unified, notice-based collateral registry. Finally, it also made transferring property easier by eliminating the requirement to provide several different nonencumbrance certificates.

"This was a very strong year for Central Asia as every country in the region moved closer to the frontier of good regulatory practice by introducing two or more reforms," said Saroj Kumar Jha, World Bank Regional Director for Central Asia. "For instance, a decade ago it took a local entrepreneur in the region on average 276 days to start a business. Now, it takes on average 8 days in the region - 5 in Kazakhstan, 10 in Kyrgyz Republic, 11 in Tajikistan, and 6.5 days in Uzbekistan - which compares with average among high-income Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) economies."

At the same time, the report highlights areas where the countries of Central Asia continue to lag behind the rest of Europe and Central Asia, particularly in the new indicators added in the latest edition measuring the quality of regulation. The average scores of the four countries in Central Asia on three of the four new quality indexes - the quality of land administration, reliability of supply and transparency of energy, and the quality of judicial processes - were lower than the average of the region, suggesting that while reforms are progressing, focus needs to remain on the quality of implementation on the ground. Only in the building quality control index of the Dealing with Construction Permits indicator did the four countries in Central Asia score slightly above the regional average.

The full report and accompanying datasets are available athttp://www.doingbusiness.org/.