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24 October 2019, 12:17

Economy Ministry comments on Belarus' position on Doing Business 2020

MINSK, 24 October (BelTA) - Belarus' lower position on the Doing Business 2020 ranking is largely due to the dynamics of other countries that worked hard in 2018 to improve the doing business conditions across the indicators covered by the ranking. A number of measures to liberalize the business environment in Belarus were not included in the World Bank study because of its methodology, BelTA learned from the Economy Ministry.

Belarus ranked 49th out of 190 economies in the world (37th last year) on the World Bank's ease of doing business ranking 2020. The country scored 74.3 points out of 100 on the ease of doing business. Belarus placed 30th in Starting a Business; 48th - Dealing with Construction Permits; 20th - Getting Electricity, 14th - Registering Property, 104th – Getting A Credit; 79th – Protecting Minority Investors; 99th – Paying Taxes; 24th – Trade Across Borders; 40th – Enforcing Contracts; and 74th – Resolving Insolvency.

This year's report does not mention the positive reforms in Belarus (in doing business terminology). The Economy Ministry noted that the World Bank's report assesses the conditions for entrepreneurship across 10 indicators and studies the changes taking place from May of the year preceding the report to May of the current and confirmed through the respondents' surveys (more than half of the respondents should confirm the effectiveness of the reform). At the same time, the report does not reflect on other aspects of the business climate, such as macroeconomic stability, decriminalization of economic risks, optimization of supervisory activities, creating conditions for attracting foreign investment, self-employment.

At the same time, the World Bank's report reflects the positive changes in the indicators such as Starting a Business (reduced registration time); Dealing with Construction Permit (reduced permit registration time); Getting Electricity (reduced connection cost); Paying Taxes (reduced time to pay taxes); Resolving Insolvency (increased recovery coefficient rate); Trade Across Borders (reduced cost of border and customs controls in export operations and the time of border and customs controls in import operations). For the past several years Belarus has had the best conditions for trade across borders in the EAEU. Belarus is ranked 24th, Armenia 43rd, Kyrgyzstan 89th, Russia 99th, and Kazakhstan 105th.

According to the report, there is one regulatory change that has made things difficult for business. According to the World Bank, Belarus weakened minority investor protections by increasing the time for a joint-stock company to disclose a related party transaction to the public, the regulator or the stock exchange.

“Thus, compared to the previous report, Belarus was down in seven out of ten positions in the rankings, remained the same across two and was up on one indicator. This is relative dynamics, however. According to the World Bank's methodology, the movement in the Doing Business rankings depends on other participants. Belarus' downward movement in the Doing Business 2020 rankings was largely due to the dynamics of other countries that were more active in improving their business environment across ten indicators of the rankings in 2018,” the Economy Ministry explained.

Taking into account the traditional recalculation of the ranking data, Belarus' position, relative to its own results last year, has improved or remained at the same level across nine out of ten doing business indicators, decreased by two points on one indicator.

"In 2018-2019, Belarus adopted a number of measures to liberalize the business environment, which were not covered by the World Bank report due to its methodology, but which were welcomed by the Belarusian business community,” the Economy Ministry said.

The Belarusian government is set to continue the reforms across all sectors of activity, including drawing on the best practices of other countries and makin=g use of the World Bank recommendations.

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