Maldives vies for top 50 ranks of Ease of Doing Business

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed speaks at Trade Facilitation Committee meeting. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

Economic Minister Mohamed Saeed speaks at Trade Facilitation Committee meeting. PHOTO: NISHAN ALI/MIHAARU

The Maldives government has set its target to rank among the top 50 countries listed on World Bank Group’s “Ease of Doing Business Index”.

According to the Economy Rankings of the Index released last year, the Maldives has fallen six ranks from its previous place of 129 in 2016 to 135 this year. The nation’s scores have gone down in nine out of the ten topics used to evaluate a country’s ease of doing business.

Doing Business Index’s topics – Maldives rankings

  • Starting a Business: 65 (4 ranks lower than last year)
  • Dealing with Construction Permits: 62 (2 ranks lower)
  • Getting Electricity: 145 (1 rank lower)
  • Registering Property: 172 (1 rank lower)
  • Getting Credit: 133 (1 rank lower)
  • Protecting Minority Investors: 123 (5 ranks lower)
  • Paying Taxes: 134 (5 ranks lower)
  • Trading across Borders: 147 (no change)
  • Enforcing Contracts: 105 (2 ranks lower)
  • Resolving Insolvency: 135 (1 rank lower)

Overcoming the obstacles and challenges faced by the archipelago’s trade sector is one of the main targets of the government, declared Minister of Economic Affairs Mohamed early Sunday as he kicked off the meeting of Trade Facilitation Committee, which was founded by the state to improve the Maldives’ ranking on Ease of Doing Business. He assured the government will work to seek solutions for the problems and issues discussed with trade and business representatives during the meeting.

However, the minister also had some criticism over the World Bank’s index, noting that certain topics cannot be used to garner an accurate perception on the country’s conditions. One example he cited is the topic of “Getting Electricity”, pointing out that resorts in the Maldives are formed as their own entities, as their own “state or city”, where electricity is generated separately in each island.

“That includes having their own water, own sanitation, own waste management system, own electricity, own water supply, own employment; all of these,” said Minister Saeed.

“And so, I don’t think that [topic on the Index] is very accurate.”

Hence, he urged private companies and sectors to thoroughly research their own information on the Index’s topics to improve accuracy.

World Bank commenced its Ease of Doing Business Index in the early 2000’s. The Maldives made it onto the list for the first time in 2008 with a rank of 54. Its rank had continually dropped until 2012 where it showed improvements in both 2013 and 2014. The archipelago’s ranking has been declining since then.

While World Bank’s research indicates that the ease of doing business in the Maldives is on the decline, incumbent president Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom assumed office with a manifesto mainly promoting an economic agenda. The top factors of his agenda are to bring in foreign investments and establish a feasible environment for trade and business in the Maldives.

Ease of Doing Business is the most important research carried out by the World Bank, playing vital roles in the progress of private businesses as well as shaping the economic policies of developing countries.

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