The Malta Independent 23 February 2020, Sunday

Malta remains most difficult place in the EU to do business – World Bank annual report

Thursday, 1 November 2018, 08:48 Last update: about 2 years ago

Malta, according to the World Bank, will be the most difficult place in the whole of the European Union in which to do business, according to the World Bank's annual Ease of Doing Business Survey released yesterday.

Malta, in fact, was ranked in the authoritative study as being the 84th easiest place in the world to do business, out of the 190 countries surveyed.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Malta fared best in the area of 'Dealing with construction permits', where the country was ranked in a global 45th position.  In all, 14 procedures are involved and an average of 170 days.

"Malta made dealing with construction permits easier by streamlining the process of obtaining a building permit," the World Bank noted. "On the other hand, Malta increased the time to issue a building permit."

In terms of 'Starting a business', Malta ranked 103rd with eight procedures necessary and 16 days to open a business' doors.

Malta ranked 77th in terms of 'Getting electricity', requiring an average of 105 days to get connected.

But it was in the area of 'Registering property' that Malta fared worst, in a global 151st spot, requiring 15 days and seven different procedures.

In the EU, just ahead of Malta was Greece, in 72nd place, and Luxemburg, in 66th.

Governments around the world set a new record in bureaucracy busting efforts for the domestic private sector, implementing 314 business reforms over the past year, the World Bank Group's Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform report said.

The reforms, carried out in 128 economies, benefit small and medium enterprises as well as entrepreneurs, enabling job creation and stimulating private investment. This year's reforms surpass the previous all-time high of 290 reforms two years ago.

"The private sector is key to creating sustainable economic growth and ending poverty around the world," said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. "Fair, efficient, and transparent rules, which Doing Business promotes, are the bedrock of a vibrant economy and entrepreneurship environment. It's critical for governments to accelerate efforts to create the conditions for private enterprise to thrive and communities to prosper."

In notable changes to the top 20 ranked economies this year, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) joins the grouping for the first time, in 11th place, while Malaysia and Mauritius regain spots, in 15th and 20th places, respectively. During the past year, Malaysia implemented six reforms, Mauritius five, and the UAE four. The reforms in Mauritius included the elimination of a gender-based barrier to equalize the field between men and women in starting a business.

This year's top 10 improvers, based on reforms undertaken, are Afghanistan, Djibouti, China, Azerbaijan, India, Togo, Kenya, Côte d'Ivoire, Turkey and Rwanda. With six reforms each, Djibouti and India are in the top 10 for a second consecutive year. Afghanistan and Turkey, top improvers for the first time, implemented record single-year reforms, with five and seven, respectively.

"The diversity among the top improvers shows that economies of all sizes and income levels, and even those in conflict can advance the business climate for domestic small and medium enterprises. Doing Business provides a road map that different governments can use to increase business confidence, innovation, and growth and reduce corruption," said Shanta Devarajan, the World Bank's Senior Director for Development Economics and Acting Chief Economist.


The full report and its datasets are available at


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