Thailand barely made it among the World Bank’s top 50 economies worldwide, and has ranked third among Asean countries on the ease of doing business during the past year.

In its annual Doing Business 2016: Measureing Quality and Efficiency survey, Thailand fell three places from the bank’s 2014 survey to 49th out of 189 economies surveyed.

In the Asean region, the kingdom is placed behind Singapore and Malaysia, with Singapore retaining the world’s top ranking for the 10th consecutive year.

Reform activity continued apace in East Asia and the Pacific, with more than half of the region’s 25 economies implementing a total of 27 reforms in the past year.

The region hosts four of the top five ranked economies in the world, including Singapore, the world’s top ranked economy.

For Thailand, the period for starting up a business is 27 days, while the average time to start a business in 132 economies worldwide is less than 20 days.

Economies in East Asia and the Pacific have an average ranking on the ease of doing business of 96.

• Singapore remains at the top of the global ranking. Also among the top performers worldwide are Hong Kong SAR, China (at 5 in the ranking); Taiwan, China (11); and Malaysia (18).

• Other large economies in the region and their rankings are China (84), Indonesia (109), the Philippines (103), and Thailand (49).

• The region’s economies perform well on average in Dealing with Construction Permits (with an average ranking of 78) and Getting Credit (80).

• The region performs below the global average in Resolving Insolvency (with an average ranking of 106), Enforcing Contracts (104), Starting a Business (103), Protecting Minority Investors (102), and Registering Property (98).

Registering a property transfer in the region takes 74 days on average, compared with a global average of 48 days, and 57 days in Thailand.

Completing the formalities to build a warehouse takes 135 days on average in the region, compared with a global average of 160 days.

The largest number of reforms recorded in the past year was in the area of starting a business. Myanmar made the most improvement globally by eliminating the minimum capital requirement for local companies and by streamlining incorporation procedures, helping small enterprises save valuable time and resources.

“Thailand is an attractive place to do business for Thai and foreign investors,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank country director for Thailand.

“In the future, Thailand will have the opportunity to improve its business environment through reforms such as improving the quality of land administration index by digitising and publishing the land registry.”

Thailand ranked 97th worldwide in getting credit (against 80 for the region average), 96th for ease of starting a business (against 103 for the region average), 70th in paying taxes, 39th in dealing with construction permits, 57th in registering property (against 98 for the region average) and enforcing contracts, 56th in trading across borders, 36th for protecting minority investors, and 49th in resolving insolvency.

The bank said the majority of economies in East Asia and the Pacific regions are undertaking reforms to further improve the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized enterprises. During the past year, 52% of the region’s 25 economies implemented 27 reforms to make it easier to do business.

• Thirteen of 25 economies in East Asia and the Pacific (52 percent) implemented at least one reform making it easier to do business in the past year, 27 in total—up from the previous year.

• Among the reforms implemented in the region, the highest numbers were in Starting a Business (8) and Paying Taxes (6). No reforms were recorded in Dealing with Construction Permits, Protecting Minority Investors, or Enforcing Contracts.

• Vietnam implemented the most reforms in the region, with 5, followed by Hong Kong SAR, China (4); and Indonesia (3).

Some details of these reforms:

  1. Vietnam made starting a business easier by reducing the time required to get the company seal engraved and registered. In addition, it guaranteed borrowers’ right to inspect their credit data while the new credit bureau expanded borrower coverage, improving the credit information system.
  2. Hong Kong SAR, China, improved access to credit by implementing a modern collateral registry. And it made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement for a company seal in practice.
  3. Indonesia made starting a business in Jakarta easier by reducing the time needed to register with the Ministry of Manpower.
    Moreover, Indonesia made paying taxes easier and less costly for companies in both Jakarta and Surabaya by introducing an online system for paying social security contributions and by reducing both the rate and the ceiling for the contributions.
  4. Myanmar made the biggest improvement globally in the area of Starting a Business—by eliminating the minimum capital requirement for local companies and streamlining incorporation procedures.
  5. Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Mongolia, Myanmar, and Vanuatu each implemented 2 reforms in the past year. Cambodia was one of only two economies worldwide that improved the reliability of electricity supply, thanks to an increase in power generation capacity.

About the author

Bangkok Correspondent at Siam News Network

Bangkok Correspondent for Siam News Network. Editor at Thailand Business News

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