Our Ease of Doing Business Concern
The categories in which Fiji improved its ranking were: Starting a business, Protecting Minority Investors and Trading across borders. The only category which remained unchanged was registering property.
Fiji’s Ease of Doing Business rating by the World Bank has slipped. We have dropped from 84 for 2016 to 97 for 2017. Our ranking dropped in six out of the 10 categories used by the World Bank to determine the overall ranking. It remained unchanged in one. Back in 2013, Fiji was ranked 73 and since then we have continued to slip despite strong efforts to improve the ranking. So does this mean our policies aren’t working or despite the efforts, things are not getting implemented and the red tapes continue to be an issue? Are the intentions of the Government still being thwarted in the lower levels?
The report indicated it takes 60 days to request and obtain a building permit with the Suva City Council and pay building permit fee.
Furthermore, it takes 46 days to receive site visit from FEA and await estimate.
The report did note that Fiji made starting a business easier by reducing the time required to start a business.
It also noted Fiji made starting a business less costly by reducing fees at the business registrar.
Yet despite this, our ranking drops. This could also be indicative that whilst we are undertaking reforms, it is not kicking in as fast as reforms undertaken in other countries. Whatever the case, we need to fast-track reforms implementation to move up the ease of doing business rankings.
This is imperative for the greater interest of our continuing economic growth, which continues to be impressive. In the survey, the World Bank ranks economies on their ease of doing business. A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm. The rankings are determined by sorting the aggregate distance to frontier scores on 10 topics, each consisting of several indicators, giving equal weight to each topic. The rankings for all economies are benchmarked to June 2016. The categories in which Fiji improved its ranking were: Starting a business, Protecting Minority Investors and Trading across borders. The only category which remained unchanged was registering property. The ranking slipped in: Dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency. The biggest drop was noted in getting credit where we met only five of the 12 criteria. Meanwhile, our neighbour, New Zealand, is now the world’s easiest place to do business. New Zealand’s ranking has pushed Singapore out of its decade-long place at the top of the widely followed rankings. There is much we can learn from New Zealand and Singapore. The Government’s growing ties with Singapore will help with its impressive record not just in ease of doing business but also stopping corruption.
The Government is pushing to speed up reforms and policy implementation to be ahead of the game with other countries.
The will is there at the top levels. Watch for more pressure for efficiencies further down.