The World Bank Ease of Doing Business rankings cover about 183 countries focusing on regulations that touch upon domestic firms.
Any improvements in the rankings are thus attributed to reforms that make it easy for domestic investors to do business in Swaziland compared to 182 other countries. The Doing Business 2012 report, themed doing business in a More Transparent Worldassessed regulations affecting domestic firms in 183 economies and ranked the economies in 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, resolving insolvency and trading across borders.
Data for the report covered regulations measured from June 2010 to the end of May 2011. The report rankings on ease of doing business have expanded to from the 2011 report to include indicators on getting electricity.
The country was ranked 124 out of 183 in the 2012 report having slipped a place down from 123 in the 2011 report. This is easily attributed to having done little or no change in the June 2010 to May 2011 period, where other countries did substantial reforms to move forward.
The Investor Road Map 2012 seeks to improve the country’s ranking by eliminating the causes for non-implementation and developing targets that talk to current times and an ever changing world. It also seeks to improve the environment under which domestic firms thrive. It is thus the interest and focus of Government through the IRM to make easy for domestic investors to start and expand their businesses.
According to the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report for 2012, there are some areas where the country is doing well compared to regional counterparts and other developed peers. These indicators include:
a) Dealing with Construction Permits (47)
This indicator looks at time and costs for dealing with issues of construction. These include environmental assessment, getting occupancy certificates, inspections, as well as connecting utilities. The country progressed one place from 148 in the 2011 report to 147 in 2012.
b) Getting Credit (48)
The getting credit indicator analyses the legal rights of borrowers and lenders and the sharing of credit information.
Strong collateral and bankruptcy laws protect borrowers and lenders, while efficient credit information systems allow lenders to adequately assess the potential borrowers’ creditworthiness.
As a result, lenders are more likely to extend loans at more favourable rates, and access to credit is improved. The country dropped from 45 in 2011 to 48 in 2012 but still ranks better that most peers.
c) Paying Taxes (60)
The country dropped six places from 54 to 60 in 2012 in this indicator which measures the taxes and mandatory contributions that a medium-size company must pay in a given year, as well as the time it takes to meet these obligations. Even though the country dropped in this ranking, it is still doing very well compared to other economies and given the size of the Swaziland economy.
d) Resolving Insolvency (69)
Swaziland also ranks well in the resolving insolvency indicator but still moved two places from 67 in 2011. This indicator examines the time and cost for a company to be declared as insolvent and closed down. According to the WB Ease of Doing Business report, it takes about two years in Swaziland and an average of 3.4 years in the region. Costs (as % of estate) are at 15% in Swaziland and an average of 23% in the sub-Saharan region.
Our actions in the Investor Road Map however do not focus only on those areas where the country does not rank well but also cover the above mentioned areas where the country is doing well to make sure that we stay on top and continuously improve. It is evident that if these areas are not improved, the country could easily fall into the web of worst performers in no time. This is proved by slipping in some of the indicators by number of places in one year to show that some countries are making major changes.
doing business in 2013
The World Bank will release the Ease of Doing Business 2013 towards the end of October 2012 having critically analysed reforms that have been undertaken by countries in the period from June 2011 to end of May 2012.
The Investor Road Map 2012 was launched in April 2012 giving the country only a month to the close of the review. This did not give the country sufficient time for substantial reforms to be recorded in the 2013 report. It is therefore expected that there will not be much improvement by Swaziland in the 2013 report with a possibility of further sliding to worse positions given that some countries reformed aggressively within the period. The country is currently ranked 124th out of 183 countries.
However, our efforts need to be galvanised as a nation to ensure that the reforms from June 2012 to June 2015 are indeed bold, aggressive and supported by all. This should translate to the country moving aggressively into an improved position, which His Majesty forecasted to be top 50 in the world.
who responds to the world bank on the rankins
The World Bank visited the country to assess if any reforms had been done within their cut-off time.
They were received by SIPA, the Investor Road Map Secretariat and also met some highly designated Government officials and private sector. They also went on to do their examination of the reforms that were reported to have been done by June 2012, which gave the country no time to be recognised in the 2013 report.
In fact, the World Bank reported that they consider reforms that are utilised by a majority of stakeholders (domestic companies). The team does their second assessment with certain companies and law firms who report on their perception and experience on the ground.
The Government of Swaziland, as the World Bank does, wishes to acknowledge these individuals and companies. Government however noticed that some individuals who give responses either give inaccurate information and wrong perceptions to the World Bank which has resulted in some reforms not being recognised and does not recommend such.
We are by no means and would not wish to be seen trying to influence what they say in these meetings will the World Bank, but only request that we provide information based on fact, legislation and on the ground experiences.
The issue of company registration is a case in point; it has been noted that companies can and do receive their company formation documents within a week and in some cases two weeks, whilst the World Bank is informed that it takes more than 30 days from date of submission of adequate documents. It may be that those companies contacted are not aware of the changes that have been effected or have not tested or used the system for sometime.
Nonetheless, we acknowledge their contribution, most especially those who diligently and appropriately report accurate information to World Bank as this information determines the perception of Swaziland by other countries and possible investors.
We encourage them to continue pin-pointing areas that need improvement, as it is through their on the ground experiences, that the Government may identify the improvements to be done and act accordingly.
In terms of World Bank Ease of Doing Business Rankings, a number of stakeholders have raised questions on how such rankings are conducted.
In essence, the World Bank conducts research and country visits to determine the experiences of domestic companies in doing business, combined with a review of the country’s legislation and discussions with service providers of the various pre-requisites and requirements to starting, operating, locating and employing for business in Swaziland.
In terms of what is measured, the World Bank looks at the cost, time and number of procedures required to undertake a particular activity relating to running a business in Swaziland.
Real life experiences are based on data collected from the following individuals and companies who are on the World Bank’s database and are part of the respondents to the Doing Business surveys:
1. M. L. Dlamini Attorneys
2. Magagula and Hlophe
3. Maphanga Howe and MasukuNsibande
4. Rodrigues and Associates
5. C. J. littler and Co.
6. Sigwane and Partners
7. Thwala Attorneys
8. Chambers Vilakati and Associates Architects
9. Law Society of Swaziland
10. Standard Bank
13. Swaziland Building Society
14. Swazi Bank
15. Central Bank
19. PWC Swaziland
21. Kobla Quashie
22. Allison Ntshalintshali and Co. Chattered Accountants
26. Brad Walker Architects
27. Mormond Electrical Suppliers
28. Parmalat Swaziland
31. Transunion ITC
32. MNS Group
33. Pick n’Pay
35. Sharp Freight
36. DHL Swaziland
38. Cross Continental Carriers
Government wishes to urge these companies to continue to assist the World Bank when they collect information for Doing Business Rankings. As the country forges ahead with the reforms, the support of this and various other private and public sector institutions is crucial. Whilst we undertake the reforms, it is equally important that we provide information on the reforms to all our stakeholders to inform and educate on the improvements made to doing business in Swaziland.
For suggestions, comments and enquiries, kindly e-mail Investor Road Map Secretariat, the Swaziland Investment Promotion Authority: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com.
Should you have trouble with your Company Registration, Trading License or Business Related Government services, call the Government Customer Services Toll Free Line at 800 7004.