Singapore is no longer the world’s easiest place to do business, coming in behind New Zealand in the latest World Bank Doing Business Report released on Tuesday (Oct 25).
For a decade, Singapore had come in tops in the World Bank’s annual ranking, but a change in how the bank calculated the rankings pushed New Zealand to the top this year. In fact, based on the changed methodology, Singapore would have come in third instead of first last year, showed World Bank data.
This year, for the first time, Doing Business included a gender dimension in three of the 10 topics covered: starting a business, registering property and enforcing contracts. The paying taxes indicator in the report has also been expanded to cover post-filing processes, such as tax audits and VAT refund.
Singapore ranked second ahead of Denmark, Hong Kong, South Korea, Norway, the UK, the US, Sweden and Macedonia. Among South-east Asian countries, Malaysia was second (23rd overall), followed by Thailand (46th), Brunei (72nd), Vietnam (82nd), Indonesia (91st) and the Philippines (99th).
The World Bank’s annual Doing Business report ranks 190 countries based on 11 indicators such as the ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity and obtaining credit.
According to the report, a record 137 economies around the world this year adopted key reforms that made it easier to start and operate small and medium-sized businesses.
The report, the World Bank’s most-downloaded publication, is keenly eyed by developing countries seeking to attract international investment. The world’s top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are Brunei, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Belarus, Indonesia, Serbia, Georgia, Pakistan, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Bahrain.