Belarus Looks to Improve Its Rank on Ease of Doing Business
OREANDA-NEWS. July 14, 2010. Belarus is looking to improve its ranking on the ease of doing business, Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Andrei Kobyakov said at a session of the Presidium of the Council of Ministers.
According to the estimates of the Economy Ministry based on the analysis of the efforts to improve Belarus’ position on the WB Business Doing 2011, the country may vault 10 positions considering the reforms implemented by 1 June. “We expect the country to move to 48th position,” Andrei Kobyakov said.
However, the final assessment of Belarus’ performance will be known after the World Bank analyses the reforms in other countries.
Now Belarus is in 58th position in the WB ranking, which is way above its 115th position in 2007.
Andrei Kobyakov informed that the Business Doing 2010 report recognized Belarus as one of global top 10 regulatory reformers. Belarus achieved most impressive results in five out of 10 areas: registration of property and start-ups, contract enforcement, hiring of labor, construction permits.
Yet, there are weak spots and areas on which Belarus need to focus, Andrei Kobyakov stated. “Above all, this is taxation where Belarus ranks 183rd. These are also international trade, lending, protection of investors and shutdown of enterprises,” he noted.
“An examination of the efforts Belarus puts into improving its standing in the Doing Business rating indicates that World Bank experts do not fully take into account the country’s ongoing reforms that could make the basis for assessing the business climate and determining the country’s rating,” said Andrei Kobyakov. He specified that he referred to taxation, international trade and shutdown of enterprises.
Speaking about taxation, the Vice Premier said that over the last five years the Belarusian Government has removed 26 taxes and fees and has implemented 57 systematic measures to facilitate the tax system. “A natural question is why with so much effort our taxation rating remains the world’s lowest,” said Andrei Kobyakov.
The World Bank takes into account tax policy measures with a one-year delay. “For instance, taxation changes brought about by the Tax Code on 1 January 2010 will be taken into account after the full fiscal year, that is in 2011 when the Doing Business 2012 report is being prepared and will not be taken into account by the Doing Business 2011 report,” he explained.
The Vice Premier remarked that Belarus’ attainment of the 70th position in the taxation rating would be a good result. Leading European nations with well-developed social security systems are bellow the 70th position on the World Bank’s list. For instance, Germany ranks 71st, Austria – 102nd, Italy – 135th. The situation is similar as far as developing European nations are concerned: Czechia ranks 121st, Poland – 151st.
According to Andrei Kobyakov, in 2009-2010 Belarus has been working in line with the plan of action approved in 2009. A total of 23 reforms of 47 have been executed. Twenty-one more are in the process. While the plan of action was in action, 27 by-laws were drafted. Fifteen of them have been adopted. Among them is the law on amendments and additions to the law of Belarus “On economic entities”. The bill has been passed by the two house of Belarusian parliament and has been submitted to the President. This law will propel Belarus to top thirty countries on the overall ease of doing business.
“The working group is now busy drafting a new version of the plan of action to advance Belarus to the top 30 countries in the World Bank’s Doing Business ranking,” the Vice Premier said. This draft plan envisages medium-term goals and short-term goals, including those that were not fulfilled by the previous plan. “Today we need more effective measures to encourage and support business initiatives, enhance the investment appeal of Belarus,” he said.
Andrei Kobyakov reminded that the task to advance Belarus to the top 30 countries with the most attractive business terms was set by the head of state. This task is aimed to create favorable conditions for investment and entrepreneur activity, it is not just an effort to get additional points in the ranking, Andrei Kobyakov said. In his view, it is necessary to introduce reforms in all the areas of the entrepreneurship in Belarus, taking into consideration the recommendations of the World Bank and the experience of other countries.