Oct 05, Colombo: Sri Lanka, which ranked 89 out of 183 countries in the global survey of 'Doing Business 2012' and listed as the most improved country in South Asia, is working on to considerably improve the rank in the 2013 survey.
The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) said it has been engaged in an exercise since 2009 under the guidance of the Ministry of Economic Development to improve country's relative international ranking position substantially in order to successfully attract foreign investment.
The global survey conducted by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and World Bank assesses regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranks the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, protecting investors, getting credit, resolving insolvency and trading across borders.
Under the CBSL's Doing Business improvement programme the monetary authority has organized bi-annual seminars with the Minister of Economic Development, Basil Rajapaksa and the participation of secretaries of relevant ministries and key officials.
The seminars aim to formulate strategies to improve the Doing Business ranking and future strategies which need to be adopted to improve the ranking further in the medium term.
The CBSL also has organized discussions with key government bodies and agencies to facilitate a common platform for the key stakeholders to educate the data providers in the areas where reforms have been made with respect to their organizations and procedures.
Some of the main key stakeholders include Colombo Municipal Council, Inland Revenue Department, Department of Labor, and Department of Registrar of Companies, Board of Investment of Sri Lanka, Colombo Stock Exchange, Credit Information Bureau, and Department of Customs.
Under the programme, the CBSL conducts video conferencing meetings with the key stakeholders in order to directly discuss with the World Bank Head Office in Washington the reforms which have been made and to clarify any other issues.
One-to-one discussions with the Colombo Municipal Council, Land Registry, Labour Department, and Inland Revenue are regularly being arranged on current reforms and future improvement plans, the CBSL said.
The CBSL submits the reports on Doing Business reforms and issues to the World Bank and also publishes a Step by Step Guide to Doing Business in Sri Lanka that summarizes the information regarding major activities that have to be undertaken by an enterprise when establishing and operating a business in order to fulfill the necessary requirements and adhering to the relevant regulations.
Sri Lanka ranked 105 of 183 countries in 2010, 98 in 2011 and made a tangible improvement in 2012 by achieving a ranking of 89.
Sri Lanka implemented substantial tax reforms affecting businesses during 2011 and these data were not taken into account in the computation of the ranking in terms of the Doing Business Methodology for 2012.
Sri Lanka has implemented measures to reduce tax costs to businesses by abolishing turnover tax and reducing corporate income tax, value added tax and nations building tax rates.
A considerable improvement in the Doing Business ranking in 2013 is expected when these reforms, other reforms which came into effect after June 2011 are considered and envisaged reforms are implemented.
The Central Bank expects the ranking to improve closer to the target ranking of 30 in 2014.