Afghanistan eyes better business ranking
In its latest "Doing Business" report, the World Bank on Monday said Ukraine was the country that has improved the most over the past year in making it easier to run a business, while Rwanda was most improved since 2005.
Singapore retained its No. 1 spot in overall rankings for the eighth straight year, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand and the United States.
The report judges 189 countries on 10 criteria, such as ease of opening a business or paying taxes, and assigns each country a rank. Since their inception in 2003, the rankings have come to carry huge weight with governments eager to attract private enterprise.
Deputy Minister of Commerce and Industries Muzamil Shinwari told reporters in Kabul they hoped Afghanistan would overtake another 14 countries in the rankings next year.
He said a nation's ranking on the index was based on the average of 10 sub-indices -- starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.
“When the World Bank releases the rankings, we start working on new plans in areas where we have problems or weaknesses, so that we resolve these problems to some extent before the next report is released,” Shinwari said.
Private Sector Development chief at Commerce Ministry, Abdul Rahim Saeedi, said the implementation of most number of business regularity reforms as part of the WB rankings would help attract investment in the country
He said Afghanistan had implemented a considerable number of reforms in issuing permits for starting businesses. In the past, the procedure to start a new business would take a year, but now the permit could be obtained within a month’s time.
Without giving details, Saeedi said the government had reduced permit fee and had extended the validity of such permits from one year to three years. He added the procedure to start a business was completed within the same office. Afghanistan needs to implement more reforms in the business sector.
Trader representative Khan Jan Alokozai said the commerce ministry in cooperation with the private sector had been able to ease doing business in the country. He acknowledged the Afghan government had been able to mitigate problems faced by Afghan traders in Pakistan and Iran.
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