Business: Bhutan has slipped two places in the “ease of doing business” ranking released last week by the World Bank.

Bhutan is ranked at 73 in the Doing Business 2017 report among 190 countries. The World Bank ranked Bhutan at 71 among 198 countries last year.

Doing Business measures aspects of business regulation for domestic firms through an objective lens.

According to the report, Bhutan is the easiest country to do business in South Asia.

Overall, Bhutan scored 65.37 points out of 100. This is an increase from last year when Bhutan scored 65.21, but the improvement in the score was not enough to push the ranking higher.

According to the World Bank, economies that rank high on Doing Business indicators tend to perform well in other international data sets such as the Global Competitiveness Index and Transparency International’s Corruption Index.

Among various indicators, Bhutan performs the worst when it comes to “resolving insolvency” and according to the report, there is “no practice” of resolving insolvency in the country. Bhutan’s ranking on resolving insolvency sub-index is 169.

Bhutan also does poorly in another measure of doing business, “protecting minority investors”, in which Bhutan is ranked 114th.

However, Bhutan is relatively successful in “paying taxes”, in which Bhutan stands at 19th position. Bhutan is ranked 54 in “getting electricity” sub-index among all the countries included in the report.

Bhutan is ranked 82 in “getting credit” and 94th in “starting business” sub-indices.

In the neighbourhood, Nepal ranked 107, Sri Lanka 110, Pakistan 144, The Maldives 135, Bangladesh 176, Afghanistan 183 and India 130.

Doing Business 2017 awarded its coveted top spot to New Zealand, Singapore ranks second, followed by Denmark, Hong Kong SAR, China, Republic of Korea, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

In South Asia, five of the region’s eight economies implemented a total of 11 reforms in the past year, compared with nine the previous year. Pakistan, which was among the world’s top 10 improvers, implemented several reforms this past year, as did India and Sri Lanka.

The bulk of the business reform activity in the region was aimed at facilitating cross-border trade. However, Afghanistan and Pakistan, stipulate additional hurdles for women entrepreneurs.

MB Subba