World Bank: UAE ‘second best globally’ for processing construction permits

Country ranked 31st in overall ease of doing business

PHOTO: The UAE was ranked by the World Bank 31st globally in the overall ease of doing business. Credit: Shutterstock

The UAE has been ranked second globally for the efficiency of processing construction permits, according to a report by the World Bank.

The country has advanced one place from last year, according to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report, which awarded first place to Singapore. The UAE topped the countries of the MENA region in documented improvements across four categories: processing of construction permits, delivery of electricity, protection of minority investors, and enforcement of contracts.

Globally, the nation occupies the 31st rank for ease of doing business among 189 states assessed.

In the ‘starting a business’ category, however, the country fell three places from a rank of 57 last year, to 60 this year.

The Doing Business 2016 report is the 13th edition in a series of annual reports that measure the procedures and legislation promoting trade activity and investment in states. The report offers quantitative indicators on business regulations and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 189 economies.

Reem Al-Hashemi, UAE minister of state and chairperson of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority, said in a statement that the report reflects the efforts made by the local and federal government agencies to support international and local investors.

In the global rankings for ease of doing business, Singapore retained its top spot. It was followed by New Zealand, in second place; Denmark (3); Republic of Korea (4); Hong Kong SAR, China (5); the UK (6); US (7); Sweden (8); Norway (9); and Finland (10).

In MENA, reform activity picked up slightly with 21 reforms implemented in 11 of the 20 economies in the region, according to a statement by the World Bank. Economies that undertook more than one reform included the UAE, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

“There is persuasive research that shows how efficiency and quality of business regulations go hand-in-hand with producing more competitive, viable companies,” said Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of the World Bank’s Global Indicators Group, which produces the report.

“The increased emphasis on the quality of regulation, to complement the previous focus on efficiency, is aimed at providing greater clarity between well-designed and badly-designed regulations, making it easier to identify where regulation is enabling businesses to thrive and where it has the opposite effect.”

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