Vietnam lags behind ASEAN peers in World Bank's Doing Business index

By VnExpress   November 1, 2016 | 11:36 pm GMT+7
Vietnam lags behind ASEAN peers in World Bank's Doing Business index
According to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, this year Vietnam has climbed 9 places. Photo by VOV

The country ranks below Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand.

According to the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, this year Vietnam ranks 82 out of 190 economies globally, up from 91 out of 189 countries last year.

The World Bank's annual Doing Business report tracks regulatory changes in 190 countries for businesses throughout their life cycle based on a set of 10 indicators, ranging from the ease of business start-up regulations to accessing services such as electricity.

Although Vietnam has climbed nine places this year, its remains below the average for ease of doing business among the ASEAN-4: Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines, the Saigon Times cited Nguyen Minh Thao, deputy head of the Business Environment and Competitiveness Department at the Central Institute for Economic Management, as saying.

She said Vietnam’s improvement was due to reforms across five of the 10 areas the bank uses to complete the index: protecting minority investors, obtaining access to electricity, paying taxes, cross-border trading and resolving insolvency.

The most significant improvement was made in protecting minority investors following government efforts to revise the 2014 Enterprise Law, Thao said.

Vietnam has simplified customs procedures to a degree, but while Singapore requires only four documents to import and export goods, Vietnam requires about 10. It takes 3-5 days to obtain regulatory approval to import and export in Singapore but 12-15 days in Vietnam. The cost of importing and exporting is $439-$456 per container in Singapore, but more than $600 in Vietnam.

Vietnam has improved more slowly than the only ASEAN-4 country ranked below it in the 2017 World Banks' report - the Philippines. Vietnam has gradually improved by 17 spots in the Doing Business report since 2012 when the country was ranked 99 out of 183 economies. In the meantime, the Philippines has gained 49 spots over the same period of time.

The World Bank pointed to starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting access to credit, registering property and enforcing contracts as areas where Vietnam needs to improve.

ASEAN countries ranked widely on the overall list from Singapore at 2 to Laos at 139. Thailand, Malaysia and Brunei were all ranked above Vietnam.

“I am concerned that Vietnam has failed to reach the ASEAN-4 average in most of the areas. Some member countries such as Indonesia and Brunei have undergone more reforms and changes than Vietnam,” said economist Minh Thao.

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