Amongst DFID’s partner countries, four countries made significant gains in 2018: India, Nigeria, Zambia, and Kenya. India increased an impressive 30 places in the rankings, rising from 130th in 2017 to 100th in 2018. As India and Nigeria are the largest countries in which DFID works, their improvement is very significant.
India made a wide range of reforms in the past year:
Starting a Business: 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.
Dealing with Construction Permits: 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.
Getting Credit: 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.
Protecting Minority Investors: 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.
Paying Taxes: 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.
Trading across Borders: 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.
Enforcing Contracts: 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.
Resolving Insolvency: 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’s scores improved significantly for paying taxes, getting credit, and resolving insolvency.
Nigeria also undertook quite a wide range of reforms.
Starting a Business: Nigeria made starting a business faster by allowing electronic stamping of registration documents. This reform applies to both Kano and Lagos.
Dealing with Construction Permits: Nigeria (Kano) increased transparency by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online. Nigeria (Lagos) made is easier to obtain construction permits by streamlining the process to obtain construction permits and increased transparency by publishing all relevant regulations, fee schedules and pre-application requirements online.
Registering Property: Nigeria, Lagos made transferring property easier and more transparent by removing the sworn affidavit for certified copies of the land ownership records, introducing a specific and independent complaint mechanism, and by publishing statistics on land transfers. Nigeria, Kano made transferring property more transparent by publishing the list documents, fee schedule and service standards for property transactions.
Getting Credit: Nigeria improved access to credit information by guaranteeing borrowers the legal right to inspect their credit data from the credit bureau and by starting to provide credit scores to banks, financial institutions and borrowers. Nigeria also strengthened access to credit by adopting a new law on secured transactions and establishing a modern collateral registry. These changes apply to both Kano and Lagos.
Paying Taxes: Nigeria made paying taxes easier by introducing new channels for payment of taxes and mandating taxpayers to file tax returns at the nearest “Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)” office. This reform applies to both Kano and Lagos.
Nigeria’s scores improved massively for getting credit.
Amongst those which fell in the rankings, there were significant falls in Sierra Leone, Ghana, South Africa, Yemen and Uganda. Ghana fell 12 places to 120th, and Sierra Leone fell 12 places also, to 160th.
Ghana’s and Sierra Leone’s overall “Distance to Frontier” score improved very slightly, so it is more that other countries were making more progress, than the case that Ghana and Sierra Leone were moving backwards.