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 Sun - - Comment - RACHNA LAL Feed­back: rach­nal@fi­jisun.com.fj

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.

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