The World Bank Group comes up with an annual ladder basically comparing how much regulation and obstacles companies face in different countries to start up and then perform their day to day. The annual survey is sub-titled “Doing Business.”
The headline news has little to surprise, the likes of Singapore, New Zealand, and Denmark are all at the top of the business friendly locations. For the Czech Republic and a government that has made one of its flagship policies attracting more inward investment and creating jobs, the news is not so good.
The country has in fact slipped down the ladder from 36th place in the latest ranking from 33rd in the previous. To put that position in context a bit better it should perhaps be noted that the Czech Republic scores just better than Romania in 37th place and Bulgaria in 38th place.
Most other Central European countries score better than the Czech Republic. Poland, the biggest economy in the region, is at 25. Slovakia and Slovenia come in at joint 29th. Hungary comes in worse at 42nd.
Year on year, the Czech scores on key factors of doing business from starting a business to registering property; from credit to protecting minority shareholders has worsened. The only positive category was paying taxes, where the lowest possible advance of one point was registered. The Czech Republic however is still ranked in 122nd place on the ease of paying taxes. There was no change in trading across borders or enforcing business contracts. The World Bank’s own methodology has muddled the message somewhat. According to the bank’s original estimate for last year the Czech Republic was placed 44th, so the latest result is an improvement. It later revised its ranking to 33rd, making the most replacement placement a retreat.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade has decided to put the onus on the positive story rather than the negative one, which would not sound as good for incumbent minister Jan Mládek. But the minister says he is nonetheless not happy with the overall results and is looking to deal with the weak points highlighted by the survey.
The ministry points out that as regards foreign trade support, which comes under industry and trade, the Czech Republic was in first place. The areas where the country scored worst, such as creating a company, getting building permits, and paying taxes were the responsibilities of the ministries of justice, regional development, and finance.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade also highlights another survey carried out by the Swiss management institute, IMD, in which this year the Czech Republic climbed four places to 29th position, ahead of Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.