Government eyes 80th rank in next year’s Doing Business Index

Published On: October 26, 2019 07:45 AM NPT By: Sagar Ghimire  | @sagarghi

KATHMANDU, Oct 26: Upbeat with Nepal’s improvement in Doing Business Index of 2020 by 16 notches to 94th in global ranking, the government is setting a target of bringing the ranking below 80th position next year.

Addressing an interaction on ‘Doing Business Reforms’ jointly organized by the Ministry of Finance and the World Bank Group on Friday, Minister of Finance Yuba Raj Khatiwada highlighted the government plans to improve regulations and business climate in the country to propel the country to below 80th position in the global ranking next year. “We will be able to reduce our ranking next year to the targeted 80th position. But, we will be happy if we are below 90th,” said Khatiwada.

Stating that the significant progress of the country in the ‘Doing Business’ ranking encourages the government even more to do much better, he said that they have already implemented some reform initiatives. “Our colleagues worked very hard to improve the ease of doing business. Had there been no recognition of their hard works, it could have seriously frustrated them from making further efforts for reforms and improvement of our score,” he added.

He, however, was quick to add that the government has not become complacent with the latest improvement in the Doing Business score. 

“This is just a stepping stone. We are not complacent by achieving any score. There is much more things to improve to satisfy our private sector and make them feel that things have really changed not only in index but also in what they face in their day to day business,” Khatiwada added.

Shishir Kumar Dhungana, a secretary at the Ministry of Finance, said that the government was committed to giving the momentum to the reform initiatives for improve business climate in the country. According to Secretary Dhungana, the government has set up a mechanism at the highest level – Business Advisory Council headed by the Prime Minister – to speed-up reforms. 

He also blamed the private sector for not being updated on the reforms carried out by the government. 

As the score in the Doing Business are based on the responses of business sector respondents, their lack of knowledge on various reforms that the government has already carried out have also contributed to the poor performance in some indicators, he argued. 

“Respondents are not aware about the reforms that we have made two or three years ago. We started online system in the Office of Company Registrar. But what respondents said is that there is no online system in the Office of Company Registrar. This means that they are not updated,” said Dhungana, urging private sector to become informed about the reforms in the regulations.

The government is moving ahead with a three-year strategy to improve the performance in Doing Business index, according to Dhungana. 

“The gap has been identified. We have already finalized what each agency will be doing,” he said. “We are working with an action plan to make sure that we continue to climb up,” he added.

Also speaking at the interaction, Faris H Hadad Zervos, Country Manager of the World Bank Group for Nepal, said that the improvement in the ranking marks the beginning of the journey of Nepal to advance further in ease of doing business in the country. “However, there is still a challenge to make sure that the entire investment eco system is in line with Nepal’s ambition to reach middle-income country status. The journey has certainly begun,” said Zervos, commending the government efforts to improve the business climate. 

“This did not happen in isolation. Over the past few months, the amount of the works that we have seen the government doing was extraordinary,” he added.

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