Gov’t to conduct in-house survey on ease of doing business in A&B

Government stakeholders meet to discuss latest World Bank Ease of doing business report (OBSERVER media photo)

The government will be carrying out its own assessment of the recently released World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, with a view to re-examining the figures quoted in the 2017 release and to make changes going forward.

According to the latest report, the country’s overall rating was 113, a significant decline when compared to other years when it ranked as low as 35.

It is the government’s intention to analyse the indicators in which the twin island state was ranked, by meeting with the various entities tasked with providing data to the World Bank.

The first of such meetings with the various stakeholders from all the government departments was held yesterday at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

Representatives were drawn from the Land Registry, Intellectual Property and Commence Office, Antigua Public Utilities Authority, Inland Revenue, Antigua & Barbuda Investment Authority, and several other departments.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas said the stakeholders met to compare notes.

“The government itself has a primary objective, even without reference to the World Bank study, to try to improve the way it does business to facilitate the ease by which an organisation, a company does business in Antigua,” Nicholas said.

The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report measures and tracks the processes involved in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, resolving insolvency, and labour market regulation.

Minister Nicholas said that several changes had been made in general areas, however there was not enough feedback from the public during the period when the country was being assessed, therefore a true reflection of the country’s performance is yet to be shown.

“The survey is upon us and it must be completed within the next two weeks. Within the room are the respective stakeholders that would have an impact on one or more of the indicators. They will also be evaluating the information from the World Bank to make a determination as to whether that information is correct and we will remain engage beyond the survey,” Nicholas said.

“There is going to be a lag between the time when an initiative is implemented and when it gets a favourable score. One of the things we know for a fact is that when we implement changes, even though we do it at a process level, there is a change management that takes place at the back of it.”

According to data collected by the World Bank, starting a business in Antigua & Barbuda required nine procedures and took 22 days.

(More in today’s Daily Observer)

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