MYANMAR FAILS TO ADVANCE IN WORLD BANK’S EASE OF DOING BUSINESS LIST
Myanmar showed no improvement in its overall ranking in the World Bank’s latest ease of doing business index, retaining the No. 171 spot it held last year—and remaining the least favorable ASEAN member country in which to conduct business. Illustrating the ambitious nature of the government’s goal of reaching the top 100 by 2020, Myanmar ranked 171st out of 190 economies (tied with Iraq) on the World Bank’s 2019 index in terms of overall ease of doing business. To compare Myanmar’s performance with its ASEAN neighbors, Laos ranked 154th, the Philippines 124th, Cambodia 138th, Indonesia 73rd, Thailand 27th and Malaysia 15th. Although its rank was unchanged, Myanmar’s latest score improved to 44.72 points from 44.21 in the 2018 index. The score takes into account 10 indicators—starting a business, dealing with construction permits, accessing electricity, registering property, obtaining credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
(Source: The Irrawaddy, November 1, 2018)
Colliers believes that sustaining growth through Doing Business policy reforms can boost private investment and support the economy to compete globally. Despite important progress such as the 2016 Investment Law and the 2017 Company Law, and making it less costly to start a business and register property, perceptions are that bureaucratic inefficiency, centralized decision making, and emerging protectionism are bottlenecks to improving the operating environment for the private sector. The Government plans to bring Myanmar within the top 100 countries in the ease of doing business ranking from 171 out of 190 countries. It may accelerate this by: (i) monitoring progress in reforms related to Doing Business. The new “Improvement of the Doing Business Working Group” chaired by the Ministry of Commerce can make clear and transparent the roles of different departments in improving the business environment and using monitoring systems to check implementation progress, which can be discussed at the PSD Committee; (ii) further liberalizing regulations for foreign investment. Myanmar could build on the introduction of the Investment Law and Company Law by further liberalizing sectors, such as insurance and banking services, for foreign investment, along with simultaneous implementation of prudential regulations. According to Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Myanmar remains to be one of the economies who has highest levels of restriction for FDI on insurance and banking sectors.