Myanmar’s business environment improves: World Bank

A woman takes a photograph of an electronic board showing the FMI (First Myanmar Investment) index at Yangon Stock Exchange, Yangon on 25 March 2016. Photo: Mizzima

Myanmar has improved its business regulatory environment over the past year through reforms on business registration and the enactment of a law that allows the establishment of a new credit bureau, finds the World Bank Group’s annual Doing Business report.

Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All, released today, finds that over two-thirds of East Asia and the Pacific region’s 25 economies implemented 45 reforms in the past year to make it easier to do business, compared to 28 reforms in the previous year.

Four economies in the East Asia and Pacific region rank among the top 10 economies globally in the Doing Business rankings. The top-ranked economies are New Zealand (at 1), followed by Singapore (2), Hong Kong SAR, China (4) and the Republic of Korea (5).

Myanmar now ranks at 170 among 190 economies on the ease of doing business, compared to 171 last year. When compared with leading economies, Myanmar has narrowed the gap with best practices, as reflected in the increase in the distance to frontier score from 44.01 to 44.56 over the past year. More specifically, Myanmar made starting a business easier by reducing the cost to register a company. It also simplified the process by removing the requirement to submit a reference letter and a criminal history certificate in order to incorporate a company. Myanmar also improved its credit information system by enacting a law that allows the establishment of a new credit bureau. However, the report also noted that Myanmar made trading across borders more difficult for traders as they experience higher costs and time delays due to congestion at the port of Yangon.

“Myanmar is steadily making progress in creating a business environment that will help the country sustain its strong pace of growth,” said World Bank Country Manager for Myanmar Abdoulaye Seck. “Pursuing business reforms will help the country create a vibrant private-sector and eventually, more jobs and better income for the people of Myanmar.”

Myanmar has the potential to follow the same path of inclusive growth as other high performing countries in the region, with a real opportunity to ensure that reforms benefit more people across geographical areas, ethnic communities and income groups. Sustaining a strong pace of growth through a diversified economy is critical to achieve this with policies that can enable a structural shift to more productive and labour intensive activities.

This year, for the first time, Doing Business includes a gender dimension in three of the 10 topics covered: Starting a Business, Registering Property and Enforcing Contracts. The report finds that, in those areas, few East Asia and Pacific economies have gender barriers. No such barriers exist in Myanmar.

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