Kazakhstan among Top Global Improvers in Doing Business Report
The 2017 World Bank Doing Business report, released Oct. 25, noted Kazakhstan is among the 10 most-improved economies, climbing 16 positions since 2015. The country is ranked 35th among 190 nations in the category “ease of doing business.”
Joining Kazakhstan on the top improvers list, the result of implementing at least three reforms in the past year, are Brunei, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain.
“This significant improvement has been ensured by four of 10 indicators; namely, by facilitating the procedures for obtaining permits for construction, ease of registering property, improving the protection of the rights of minority investors and contract enforcement. It is a good achievement for Kazakhstan,” Centre for Strategic Initiatives senior partner Olzhas Khudaibergenov told The Astana Times.
Improved performance in the Doing Business ranking typically indicates a lower level of income inequality and reduced poverty.
“Simple rules that are easy to follow are a sign that a government treats its citizens with respect. They yield direct economic benefits – more entrepreneurship; more market opportunities for women; more adherence to the rule of law,” according to a statement by World Bank Chief Economist and Senior Vice President Paul Romer. “But we should also remember that being treated with respect is something that people value for its own sake and that a government that fails to treat its citizens this way will lose its ability to lead.”
The World Bank rates economies on 10 indicators and Kazakhstan showed significant improvement in dealing with construction permits (78th to 22nd place), protecting minority investors (25th to third) and getting electricity (102nd to 75th). Each improvement can be attributed to particular upgrades, such as a single-window system and streamlining procedures regarding permits and eliminating the need to obtain an official excavation permit and inspection by the State Energy Supervision Committee and shortening the time frame regarding technical conditions and contracts for electricity.
Minority investors were given enhanced protection by introducing stricter requirements for immediate disclosure of related-party transactions to the public, increasing shareholder’s rights and roles in major corporate decisions, clarifying ownership and control structures and requiring more corporate transparency.
The strides were slightly smaller in starting a business (54th to 45th), trading across borders (128th to 119th) and resolving insolvency (46th to 37th). The requirements were simplified in the first two areas by abolishing the requirement to notarise company documents and founders’ signatures and eliminating two export documents previously required for customs clearance, respectively. The third was eased by changing voting procedures for organisation plans, providing protections to creditors who vote against such plans and granting creditors greater access to information for insolvency proceedings and the ability to challenge decisions.
Kazakhstan remained in ninth place in enforcing contracts, while moving downward slightly in getting credit (70th to 75th) and paying taxes (60th to 57th).
Almaty Development Centre Chairman of the Board Zhanna Tulegenova reacted to the rankings on social media.
“More than 40 regulations were adopted in Kazakhstan within the implementation of the five institutional reforms. New measures aim to reduce the time and number of procedures and tackle corruption. However, it is not enough just to adopt regulations; it is more challenging to ensure the implementation of these changes,” she posted.
The report cited Europe and Central Asia as the regions with the most substantial improvements in business regulation, with Kazakhstan, Georgia, Macedonia, Belarus, Armenia and Russia each executing more than 30 reforms since 2004. Kazakhstan was among seven nations to improve in all Doing Business indicators.
For the first time, the report included gender measures in starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts, stating Europe and Central Asia were the only areas to provide equal opportunities for women and men to start a business.
The World Bank ranked New Zealand as the best economy for ease of doing business, followed by Singapore and Denmark. Kazakhstan is ahead of neighbours Russia (40th), Kyrgyzstan (75th), China (78th) and Uzbekistan (87th).