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Doing Business 2013: Georgia among top 10

By Messenger Staff
Wednesday, October 24
A new IFC and World Bank report entitled Doing Business 2013: Smarter Regulations for Small and Medium-size Enterprises, shows that Georgia is joining the top 10 economies in the global ease of doing business ranking. Georgia is also the world’s top improver since 2005. With 35 institutional and regulatory reforms since then, Georgia has improved in all areas measured by Doing Business. In the past year alone, Georgia improved in six areas, more than any other economy in the world. According to the rating, Georgia is in the ninth position. Topping the list is Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, United States, Norway, United Kingdom and South Korea. Australia follows Georgia in 10th place.

Commenting on the report, Georgia’s President Mikheil Saakashvili said that Georgia has some of the lowest taxes in the world and it is impossible to reduce them, as you can’t go any lower.

“We were in 150th place at the time of Shevardnadze’s rule. As a result of the reforms, we moved up to 16th place last year. Someone say that Saakashvili’s government lied to people and we were listed at 9th place for this lie. Russia has a thousand times more than we have and despite its propaganda, it didn’t appear in the top ten. This is the reality – Georgia has one of the lowest tax rates and the new coalition has recognized this. Georgia is one of the places rated highly for the ease of doing business according to the World Bank rating. Our only way is more investments, to keep making it easier to do business, with no corruption and preserving a low level of crime. If we accomplish all this, Georgia has a chance to continue progressing,” the President said in Dubai where he is attending the “World Energy Forum 2012 for the World’s leaders.”

The President said Georgia will manage to achieve success in many other directions.

“We’ll continue the popularization of Georgia, to bring investments into the country, to bring more tourists and Georgian people can live better after all this. There is no other recipe of improving the level of living,” Saakashvili said.

According to the report, Georgia has been promoted as it made enforcing contracts easier by simplifying and speeding up the proceedings for commercial disputes. It strengthened its secured transactions system through an amendment to the civil code, allowing a security interest to extend to the products, proceeds, and replacement of collateral. It made getting electricity easier by simplifying the process of connecting new customers to the distribution network and reducing connection fees. It made paying taxes easier for companies by enhancing the use of electronic systems and providing more services to taxpayers. In addition, Georgia expedited the process of resolving insolvency by establishing or tightening time limits for all insolvency-related procedures, including auctions. Finally, it reduced the time to export and import by creating customs clearance zones.

President Saakashvili also highlighted Georgia’s investment climate and said Georgia is open for investments.

“Jobs are created only by investments in our economy, new businesses, new tourist facilities, new infrastructure, and new ports. Here is an energy forum now and I want to say that it will be a big mistake to suspend construction of hydro-power plants, including large power plants, because in Georgia it may lead to energy problems, power shortage, and what is most important, many people will lose their jobs. If they will still do it – it was their pre-election rhetoric - it will be a big mistake. I believe that it will also be a big mistake to stop large infrastructure projects, including the new port construction, because it would create tens of thousands of new jobs. We should also understand that, apart from the fact that the incumbent government left a lot of money in the budget, pensions were increased by 10 times, new hospitals were built... it will be good if the new government will work to improve all this," stated the President.

Economist and former Minister of Economy, Kakha Bendukidze, says that this is a very big success for the country like Georgia, as many of the European countries are lower in the rating.

“This success of Georgia is caused by regular reforms carried out in the country. Georgia is growing despite the fact that many European countries are facing either slight growth or they do not grow at all. This gives us hope that our economic development will continue in future as well,” Bendukidze said.

This is unprecedented when a developing country appears to be in the top list of such a prestigious ranking. Overall, we have carried out about 30 reforms recently, which really prompted our success,” Vakhtang Lezhava, former Deputy Minister of Finance of Georgia said.