Brunei, Indonesia and Vietnam jumped the most among countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN) in the new Doing Business 2017 ranking released by the World Bank on October 25. Vietnam jumped nine ranks, Indonesia 15 and Brunei a whopping 25 notches up the ladder.
Meanwhile, Singapore and Myanmar improved one notch each, while Thailand’s and the Philippines’ rankings remained unchanged. Malaysia dropped one rank, while Cambodia and Laos worsened by three notches each.
In the wider region, East Asia and the Pacific is home to two of the world’s top ten ranked economies, Singapore and Hong Kong, and two of the top ten improvers, Brunei and Indonesia. The pace of reforms picked up significantly in the past year, with the region’s economies implementing a total of 45 reforms to improve the ease of doing business, the report states.
In Brunei, all but two indicators improved significantly, including getting credit, protection of investors, getting electricity, enforcing contracts, paying taxes and resolving insolvency. The indicators starting a business and dealing with construction permits worsened, though.
Indonesia mainly improved in the tax collection category, electricity supply, getting credit and contract enforcement, and Vietnam saw betterment in investor protection and cross-border trading.
Regionally first-ranked Singapore improved particularly in the sector of construction permits and property registration, while second-placed Malaysia seems to have growing issues in the starting a business category, with tax collection and contract enforcement.
But after all, at spot 23, Malaysia is still ahead of countries such as Switzerland (31), France (29), Netherlands (28), United Arab Emirates (26), Japan (34), China (78) and India (130).
Philippines and Thailand remain flat. In the Philippines, problems seem to persist in the sectors of starting a business and loan availability, while getting electricity and building permits improved. In Thailand, the opposite development took place as starting a business and getting credit became easier, but infrastructure indicators such as electricity and construction permits deteriorated, as well as tax collection and investor protection.
Cambodia and Laos have particular issues with procedures to start a business, investor protection, contract enforcement and infrastructure. Myanmar improved in many sectors but has still issues with loan accessibility and cross-border trading.