GCC countries top MENA in Doing Business ranking – World Bank

By bne IntelliNews October 30, 2013

The GCC oil-producing states, except Kuwait, are MENA's best countries to do business according to the new World Bank's latest Doing Business 2014 ranking. The UAE ranked 23rd globally and first regionally with three reforms implemented since last year’s ranking. Tunisia is North Africa’s best country to do business, ranking 51st globally and sixth regionally despite implementing zero reforms. Morocco, however, topped the North African region with three introduced reforms and ranked 87th globally. Egypt ranked 128th globally with zero reforms implemented.

The survey underscored that Egypt has made paying taxes more costly for companies by increasing the corporate income tax rate. Kuwait, which ranked 104th globally has made starting a business more difficult by increasing the minimum capital requirement, the World Bank noted. But Kuwait has reportedly strengthened investor protections by allowing minority shareholders to request the appointment of an auditor to review the company’s activities.

As to Morocco, it has made starting a business easier by reducing the company registration fees. Morocco also made transferring property easier by reducing the time required to register a deed of transfer at the tax authority. Morocco also eased paying taxes for companies by increasing the use of electronic filing and payment system for social security contributions.

Tunisia made starting a business more difficult by increasing the cost of company registration.

The United Arab Emirates has improved further as it made getting electricity easier by scrapping the requirement for site inspections and reducing the time required to provide new connections. The UAE likewise eased the transferring of property by increasing the operating hours of the land registry and reducing transfer fees. As to investors, the UAE strengthened investor protections by introducing larger disclosure requirements for related-party transactions in the annual report and to the stock exchange. It also made it possible to sue directors when such transactions harm the company.

MENA Doing Business 2014 Rankings    
  2014 Reforms
UAE 23 3
Saudi Arabia 26 0
Bahrain 46 1
Oman 47 0
Qatar 48 1
Tunisia 51 0
Morocco 87 3
Kuwait 104 1
Lebanon 111 0
Jordan 119 0
Egypt 128 0
Iraq 151 0
Algeria 153 0
Syria 165 0
Source: World Bank    

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