What We Think

June 4, 2020

Chart of the Week (23) - Ease of doing business

The ease of doing business report, by the World Bank Group, provides a score to assess business regulations and their enforcement across 190 economies. The score which captures several important dimensions of the regulatory environment is measured on a scale from 0 to 100, where 0 represents the lowest and 100 represents the best performance.

The top 10 best places in the world to do business, according to the 2020 report, are New Zealand (with a score of 86.8 out of 100), Singapore (86.2), Hong Kong SAR, China (85.3), Denmark (85.3), the Republic of Korea (84), the United States (84), Georgia (83.7), the United Kingdom (83.5), Norway (82.6), and Sweden (82).

These economies share several common features, including the widespread use of electronic systems. The top 20 economies have online business incorporation processes, electronic tax-filing platforms, and allow online procedures related to property transfers. Moreover, 11 economies have electronic procedures for construction permitting. In general, the 20 top performers have sound business regulation with a high degree of transparency.

In this latest report, Malta with an overall score of 66.1 ranks 88th out of 190 countries, down 4 places when compared to the previous year. Malta continues to fare very well with the EU average score, particularly the ease of starting a business. Notwithstanding, the pace at which certain reforms are taking place, notably with respect to the ease of getting credit, the ease of registering property and the ease of resolving insolvency,  is somewhat slower than other countries which are making significant inroads and moving fast up the scoreboard.

As is referenced by the best performing economies, the key to address these barriers lies in digital transformation. Although the Maltese government has in recent years embarked on an ambitious transformation programme, more progress needs to be made to ensure that the whole country is part of this digital transformation. More services need to be available online, not just from a front-end perspective but even more so from a processing capacity. Government will ultimately need to ensure that digital transformation is entrenched in our society including the relevant infrastructure, within both public and private sectors. 


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