WASHINGTON: Pakistan’s global ranking has slipped 10 ranks in a report on ease of doing business owing to poor performance on almost all indicators, while Singapore remains on top of the list.
A World Bank report published on Tuesday ranked Pakistan 138 of 189 economies, dropping 10 ranks from last year’s 128.
The “Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency” report, now in its 13th year, looks at the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized companies to see how it hampers or helps them conduct business, from starting up and paying taxes to registering property and trading across borders.
July-September: Pakistan misses IMF trade projections
The country’s biggest drop was on the trading across borders indicator, which slipped from 108 all the way to 19.
On the getting electricity indicator, Pakistan slipped from 146 last year to 157. The report also noted that businesses in Pakistan estimated losses due to power outages at up to 34% of annual revenue.
While Pakistan kept slipping on the ladder, its eastern neighbour India has improved its ranking, moving 12 places up to rank 130 on the index.
“For any big economy, a rank improvement of 12 is a remarkable achievement. Going from 142 in the world to 130, as India has done, is very good sign. It gives a good signal about the way things are moving in India,” World Bank’s Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Kaushik Basu told PTI in an interview.
The International Monetary Fund said in a report early in October that India was poised for the fastest growth of any other emerging-market economy this year, at 7.3%, thanks in part to policy reforms.
Singapore at the top
Singapore remains the easiest place to do business, while developing countries have stepped up their pace of business-friendly reforms in the past year, according to the report.
There were barely any changes in the report’s top 10, according to adjusted data using this year’s criteria for both the 2015 and 2016 rankings.
New Zealand remained in the number-two position, followed by Denmark (3), South Korea (4), Hong Kong (5), Britain (6) and the United States (7). Sweden moved up a notch to number eight, switching places with Norway. Finland kept its 10th place.
“A modern economy cannot function without regulation and, at the same time, it can be brought to a standstill through poor and cumbersome regulation,” said Basu.
“The challenge of development is to tread this narrow path by identifying regulations that are good and necessary, and shunning ones that thwart creativity and hamper the functioning of small and medium enterprises.”
By surveying and ranking economies, the 188-nation development lender hopes that its “report card” will encourage regulation that contributes to economic growth and prosperity for people.
Progress was tilted to the downside among the five emerging-market powers known as the BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
China, the world’s second-largest economy, slipped one notch to 84th place. Brazil fell to 116th from 111th and South Africa dropped four notches to 73rd.
But Russia, struggling with an economy hit by the plunge in oil prices and Western sanctions over the Ukraine conflict, moved up in the ranks, to 51 from 54.
Of the 189 economies surveyed through June 1, the World Bank found improvements in regulatory frameworks in 122 of them.
Among developing economies, 85 implemented 169 reforms during the past year, compared with 154 reforms the previous year.
Adding the 62 reforms undertaken by high-income economies, a total of 231 reforms were implemented, the report said. Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for about 30% of the reforms, followed closely by Europe and Central Asia.
The World Bank highlighted the world’s top 10 “improvers” — economies that implemented at least three reforms during the past year and moved up the rankings scale: Costa Rica (58), Uganda (122), Kenya (108), Cyprus (47), Mauritania (168), Uzbekistan (87), Kazakhstan (41), Jamaica (64), Senegal (153), and Benin (158).
Eritrea held on to the worst ranking for businesses. The bottom 10 economies were largely in Africa, with the exceptions of Haiti (182) and Venezuela (186).