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Business Reforms in South Asia

Positive= Doing Business reform making it easier to do business.Negative= Change making it more difficult to do business.

Afghanistan

DB 2018:

Afghanistan made starting a business more costly by requiring that entrepreneurs pay the business license fee for three years at the time of incorporation.

DB 2017:

Afghanistan made paying taxes more costly by increasing the business receipts tax rate.

Afghanistan made exporting and importing easier by enhancing the usage of different modules of the ASYCUDA World customs processing system.

DB 2016:

Afghanistan made starting a business more costly by increasing the registration and publication fees.

Afghanistan improved access to credit information by launching a credit registry.

DB 2015:

Afghanistan made starting a business more difficult by increasing the publication fees and prolonging the time required for registration.

DB 2014:

Afghanistan made starting a business easier by reducing the time and cost to obtain a business license and by eliminating the inspection of the premises of newly registered companies.

Afghanistan strengthened its secured transactions system by implementing a unified collateral registry.

DB 2012:

Afghanistan made getting electricity easier by improving the efficiency of the electricity department in Kabul and introducing a new fee schedule for connections.

DB 2010:

Afghanistan simplified business start-up by taking company registration out of the commercial courts; establishing a new company registry that acts as a one-stop shop combining company registration, tax registration and publication in the official gazette; and introducing flat registration fees.

Afghanistan made registering property easier by reducing property transfer taxes.

Afghanistan strengthened its secured transactions system through a new law broadening the range of assets that can be used as collateral (including future assets), allowing a general description of debts and obligations in a security agreement and permitting out-of-court enforcement of security interests.

DB 2008:

Afghanistan made registering property easier by streamlining the process of obtaining approvals and by digitizing the title deed record systems of some district courts.

Afghanistan made paying taxes more difficult for companies by increasing the payment frequency for business receipt taxes from annual to quarterly.

Afghanistan increased the maximum number of working days allowed per week and introduced a requirement for third-party approval for collective dismissals.

Bangladesh

DB 2018:

Bangladesh made starting a business more expensive by increasing the cost of business registration at the Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms. This reform applies to both Chittagong and Dhaka.

DB 2017:

Bangladesh made paying taxes more complicated for companies by increasing the time it takes to prepare VAT and corporate income tax returns. This reform applies to both Chittagong and Dhaka.

DB 2016:

Bangladesh made paying taxes less costly for companies by reducing the corporate income tax rate. This reform applies to both Chittagong and Dhaka.

DB 2015:

Bangladesh made trading across borders easier by introducing a fully automated, computerized customs data management system, ASYCUDA (Automated System for Customs Data) World. This reform applies to both Chittagong and Dhaka.

DB 2014:

Bangladesh made starting a business easier by automating the registration process and reducing the time required to obtain a trading license and to complete the tax and value added tax registration.

DB 2013:

Bangladesh made getting electricity more difficult by requiring all customers to meet 7% of their electricity needs through solar energy, making it necessary to install solar panels.

Bangladesh improved access to credit information by establishing an online platform for sharing such information.

DB 2012:

Bangladesh made getting electricity more difficult by imposing a moratorium on new electricity connections from April 2010 to March 2011 because of an electricity supply shortage. This moratorium has led to long delays for customers and has increased the time to obtain an electricity connection.

DB 2011:

Bangladesh made business start-up easier by eliminating the requirement to buy adhesive stamps and further enhancing the online registration system.

Bangladesh reduced the property transfer tax to 6.7% of the property value.

DB 2010:

Bangladesh made starting a business easier by launching a full-fledged online business name clearance and registration process.

Bangladesh made paying taxes less costly for companies by reducing the corporate income tax rate—though it also increased the capital gains tax rate.

Bangladesh reduced the time required to clear goods by automating customs clearance procedures at the Chittagong port.

DB 2009:

Bangladesh simplified business registration formalities, reducing the time, cost and number of procedures to start a business.

Bangladesh speeded up property registration by increasing efficiency at the municipal deed registry office.

DB 2008:

Bangladesh made starting a business more complicated by introducing an additional process for verifying the payment stamp duty

Bangladesh made paying taxes more costly for companies by increasing the corporate income tax rate.

Bhutan

DB 2018:

Bhutan made starting a business easier by reducing the time for obtaining a Security Clearance Certificate, registering at the Office of the Registrar and registering for taxes.

Bhutan improved access to credit information by beginning to distribute payment data from two utility companies.

Bhutan strengthened minority investor protections by clarifying ownership and control structures but weakened minority investor protections by reducing shareholder rights.

Bhutan made enforcing contracts easier by creating a dedicated bench to resolve commercial cases.

DB 2016:

Bhutan made getting electricity easier by speeding up the process for obtaining a new connection.

Bhutan made transferring property easier by introducing a computerized land information system.

DB 2014:

Bhutan made starting a business easier by reducing the time required to obtain the security clearance certificate.

Bhutan improved access to credit information through new regulations governing the licensing and functioning of the credit bureau and guaranteeing borrowers’ right to access their data.

DB 2013:

Bhutan introduced a minimum wage.

DB 2012:

Bhutan eased the process of starting a business by making its criminal records search electronic and making the rubber company stamps available on the local market.

Bhutan improved its credit information system by launching the operation of a public credit registry.

DB 2011:

Bhutan established the mandatory paid annual leave.

DB 2009:

Bhutan eased the caseload of district courts by creating a land commission to handle property transfers (previously about 30% of all district court cases), thereby reducing the time required to enforce contracts through the courts.

DB 2008:

Bhutan made it easier to start a limited liability trading company by eliminating 2 procedures—name approval and location clearance—and increasing efficiency at the company registrar.

Bhutan increased the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts, eliminated restrictions on night work, introduced a requirement for third-party notification for redundancy dismissals and increased redundancy costs.

India

DB 2018:

India made starting a business faster by merging the applications for the Permanent Account Number (PAN) and the Tax Account Number (TAN), and by improving the online application system. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai. Mumbai also made starting a business faster by merging the applications for the value-added tax and the profession tax.

India made dealing with construction permits less cumbersome by implementing an online system that has streamlined the process at the Municipality of New Delhi and Municipality of Greater Mumbai. The online system has streamlined the process of obtaining a building permit, thereby reducing the number of procedures and time required to obtain a building permit in India.

India strengthened access to credit by amending the rules on priority of secured creditors outside reorganization proceedings and by adopting a new law on insolvency that provides a time limit and clear grounds for relief to the automatic stay for secured creditors during reorganization proceedings. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

India strengthened minority investor protections by increasing the remedies available in cases of prejudicial transactions between interested parties. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

India made paying taxes easier by making payment of EPF mandatory electronically and introducing a set of administrative measures easing compliance with corporate income tax. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

India reduced import border compliance time in Mumbai by improving infrastructure at the Nhava Sheva Port. Export and import border compliance cost were also reduced in both Delhi and Mumbai by eliminating merchant overtime fees and through the increased use of electronic and mobile platforms.

India made enforcing contracts easier by introducing the National Judicial Data Grid, which makes it possible to generate case measurement reports on local courts. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

India made resolving insolvency easier by adopting a new insolvency and bankruptcy code that introduced a reorganization procedure for corporate debtors and facilitated continuation of the debtor’s business during insolvency proceedings. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

India increased the mandatory length of paid maternity. This reform applies to both New Delhi and Mumbai.

DB 2017:

India made getting electricity faster and cheaper by streamlining the process of getting a new commercial electricity connection. This reform impacts Delhi.

India made paying taxes easier by introducing an electronic system for paying employee state insurance contributions. This reform applies to both Mumbai and Delhi.

India made exporting and importing easier by launching Customs Electronic Commerce Interchange Gateway portal and simplifying border and documentary compliance procedures. This reform applies to both New Delhi and Mumbai.

India made enforcing contracts easier by creating dedicated divisions to resolve commercial cases. This reform applies to both Mumbai and Delhi.

DB 2016:

India made starting a business easier by eliminating the minimum capital requirement and the need to obtain a certificate to commence business operations. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

The utility in Delhi made the process for getting an electricity connection simpler and faster by eliminating the internal wiring inspection by the Electrical Inspectorate. The utility in Mumbai reduced the procedures and time required to connect to electricity by improving internal work processes and coordination.

DB 2015:

India made starting a business easier by considerably reducing the registration fees, but also made it more difficult by introducing a requirement to file a declaration before the commencement of business operations. These changes apply to both Delhi and Mumbai.

In India the utility in Mumbai made getting electricity less costly by reducing the security deposit for a new connection.

India strengthened minority investor protections by requiring greater disclosure of conflicts of interest by board members, increasing the remedies available in case of prejudicial related-party transactions and introducing additional safeguards for shareholders of privately held companies. This reform applies to both Delhi and Mumbai.

DB 2013:

India reduced the time required to obtain a building permit by establishing strict time limits for preconstruction approvals.

DB 2012:

India eased the administrative burden of paying taxes for firms by introducing mandatory electronic filing and payment for value added tax.

DB 2011:

India eased business start-up by establishing an online VAT registration system and replacing the physical stamp previously required with an online version.

India reduced the administrative burden of paying taxes by abolishing the fringe benefit tax and improving electronic payment.

DB 2010:

India made resolving insolvency easier by increasing the effectiveness of processes and thereby reducing the time required.

DB 2009:

India reduced the time for exporting by implementing an electronic data interchange system.

DB 2008:

India strengthened its secured transactions system by launching a unified and geographically centralized collateral registry and started to provide credit information on firms at the private credit bureau.

India made trading across borders easier by introducing ICEGATE—an electronic data interchange system making it possible to lodge customs declarations through the internet and facilitating the operation of a risk management system, an electronic payment system and an electronic manifest system that allows shipping lines to submit their cargo manifest in advance.

Maldives

DB 2018:

Maldives made paying taxes easier by introducing an online system for filing and paying taxes.

DB 2016:

The Maldives made dealing with construction permits more difficult by requiring that building plans be stamped and approved by private structural and architectural checkers prior to requesting a building permit.

Maldives made paying taxes easier for companies by introducing more payment counters at the tax authority and express counters at peak periods. At the same time, Maldives introduced additional disclosure requirements for filing corporate income tax returns.

DB 2014:

Maldives made paying taxes easier for companies by introducing electronic filing systems for corporate income tax, sales tax and pension contributions.

DB 2013:

Maldives introduced a goods and service tax, a business profit tax and additional social contributions.

DB 2011:

Maldives now allows registered companies to own land as long as all company shares are owned by Maldivians.

DB 2010:

Maldives reduced the maximum duration of fixed-term contracts and increased mandatory paid annual leave.

Nepal

DB 2018:

Nepal strengthened access to credit by operationalizing the existing law on secured transactions that implements a functional secured transactions system and establishes a centralized, notice-based, modern collateral registry.

Nepal strengthened minority investor protections by requiring greater corporate transparency.

DB 2017:

Nepal made dealing with construction permits more difficult by increasing the cost of obtaining a building permit.

Exporting in Nepal became more difficult due to an increase in the time and cost for documentary compliance following the introduction of a special vehicle permit requirement. At the same time, Nepal implemented the ASYCUDA World data management system, which expedited the customs clearance process.

DB 2015:

Nepal made dealing with construction permits easier by implementing a new electronic building permit system.

DB 2014:

Nepal made starting a business easier by reducing the administrative processing time at the company registrar and by establishing a data link between agencies involved in the incorporation process.

DB 2012:

Nepal improved oversight and monitoring in the court, speeding up the process for filing claims.

DB 2010:

Nepal made transferring property easier by reducing the registration fee.

Nepal improved access to credit information by starting to distribute historical data.

Pakistan

DB 2018:

Pakistan made starting a business easier by replacing the need to obtain a digital signature for company incorporation with a less costly personal identification number. This change applies to both Karachi and Lahore.

Pakistan, Karachi improved the transparency of the land registration process by publishing online the fee schedule and the list of documents necessary to complete any property registration.

Pakistan increased minority investor protections by making it easier to sue directors in case of prejudicial transactions with interested parties. This reform applies to both Karachi and Lahore.

Pakistan made importing and exporting easier by developing a new container terminal and enhancing its customs platform for electronic document submission. These changes apply to both Karachi and Lahore.

DB 2017:

Pakistan improved the quality of land administration by digitizing ownership and land records. This reform applies to Lahore.

Pakistan improved access to credit information guaranteeing by law borrowers’ rights to inspect their own data. The credit bureau also expanded its borrower coverage. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.

Pakistan made exporting and importing easier by enhancing its electronic "Web Based One Customs Platform".

DB 2015:

Pakistan made trading across borders easier by introducing a fully automated, computerized system (the Web-Based One Customs system) for the submission and processing of export and import documents. This reform applies to both Lahore and Karachi.

DB 2012:

Pakistan increased the profit tax rate for small firms.

DB 2011:

Pakistan made property transfer more affordable by reducing the stamp duty rate.

Pakistan reduced the time to export by improving electronic communication between the Karachi Port authorities and the private terminals, which have also boosted efficiency by introducing new equipment.

DB 2010:

Pakistan made starting a business easier by introducing an electronic registration system, allowing online registration for sales tax and eliminating the requirement to make the declaration of compliance on a stamped paper.

DB 2008:

Pakistan made registering property more expensive by increasing the capital value tax.

Pakistan’s private credit bureau began distributing positive as well as negative credit information, and its public credit registry eliminated the minimum threshold for loans included in its database.

Sri Lanka

DB 2018:

Sri Lanka made exporting and importing easier by developing a customs single window.

DB 2017:

Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by removing the stamp duty on newly issued shares.

Sri Lanka strengthened minority investor protections by requiring board and in some cases shareholder approval of related-party transactions and by requiring that such transactions undergo external review.

DB 2016:

Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by eliminating the requirement to notify the Registrar of Companies of the payment of stamp duty for the initial issuance of shares.

Sri Lanka made dealing with construction permits less time-consuming by streamlining the internal review process for building permit applications.

DB 2015:

Sri Lanka made paying taxes more costly for companies by increasing the reduced corporate income tax rate for qualifying small and medium-size enterprises.

DB 2014:

Sri Lanka made dealing with construction permits easier by eliminating the requirement to obtain a tax clearance and by reducing building permit fees.

Sri Lanka made getting electricity easier by improving the utility’s internal workflow and by reducing the time required to process new applications for connections.

Sri Lanka made paying taxes easier for companies by introducing an electronic filing system for social security contributions.

Sri Lanka made trading across borders easier by introducing an electronic payment system for port services.

DB 2013:

Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by computerizing and expediting the process of obtaining a registration number for the Employees Provident Fund and Employees Trust Fund.

Sri Lanka made registering property faster by introducing an electronic system at the Land Registry in Colombo.

Sri Lanka strengthened its secured transactions system by establishing an electronic, searchable collateral registry and issuing regulations for its operation.

Sri Lanka reduced the time to export by implementing the ASYCUDA World electronic data interchange system.

DB 2012:

Sri Lanka strengthened investor protections by requiring greater corporate disclosure in case of transactions between interested parties.

Sri Lanka made paying taxes less costly for businesses by abolishing the turnover tax and social security contribution and by reducing corporate income tax, value added tax and national building tax rates.

DB 2011:

DB 2010:

Sri Lanka made dealing with construction permits more difficult by increasing some fees and adding a procedure.

Sri Lanka improved access to credit information through a consolidation of systems at the private credit bureau allowing all shareholder lending institutions to submit credit data, with no minimum threshhold for the loans to be reported to the database.

DB 2009:

Sri Lanka improved access to credit by strengthening its secured transactions system through its new company act, under which secured creditors’ claims are no longer frozen when the company goes into liquidation and by setting up an online system for banks to share credit information at the private credit bureau, collecting data on all loans from financial institutions and distributing historical credit information covering a longer period.

DB 2008:

Sri Lanka made starting a business easier by eliminating burdensome requirements for approvals, introducing a flat registration fee and making company seals and the use of notaries optional.

In Sri Lanka the private credit bureau increased the minimum threshold for loans on which negative information is distributed from 100,000 Sri Lanka rupees to 500,000.

Sri Lanka made trading across borders easier by introducing a new electronic data interchange system that enables electronic submission and processing of customs declarations and cargo manifests and by providing for legal recognition of electronic documents and contracts.