8 Nov 2010 14:31

World Bank: Russia slips in Doing Business rank despite reforms

MOSCOW. Nov 8 (Interfax) - Russia saw its Ease of Doing Business rank slip to 123rd place from 116th place last year (revised from the original 120th place), according to the Doing Business 2011 rankings prepared by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation.

Russia now ranks just behind Uganda and just above Uruguay in the report, which covers the period June 2009-May 2010.

Russia's slippage reflects the faster pace of reforms in other countries, despite its own progress, report co-author Svetlana Bagaudinova told Interfax.

Russia's two main reforms were simplifying the procedure for obtaining construction permits with implementation of one-stop "single-window" services and a host of statutes aimed at improving creditor safeguards and simplifying bankruptcy procedures. "Overall the effects are q uite positive," she said.

However, the construction industry remains a problem area for Russia. It ranked 182nd in terms of the complexity of obtaining construction licenses, worse than China and better than just one other country, Eritrea.

The report found that 540 days were needed to obtain permits to start construction (compared with 704 days the year before) and 53 procedures needed to be completed (54). Meanwhile, the cost of the process increased, to 4.141% of per capita income from 2.141% the previous year.

"The construction area remains a problem in terms of cost and the time to obtain permits, although there has been progress. It appears that the Russian government has put some effort into this area and is undertaking significant steps," she said.

Bagaudinova believes those efforts will soon bear fruit. "Russia has put in a major effort to combat the effects of the crisis, which includes reform of bankruptcy procedures. Next year we hope to see the effect of the concrete steps the government undertook in 2010 to support entrepreneurship," she said.