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The Warsaw Voice » Business » January 30, 2008
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Poland Slips in Business Survey
January 30, 2008   
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Poland slipped to 74th place among 178 countries in terms of the overall ease of doing business, according to the World Bank's Doing Business 2008 survey. In the bank's previous survey, Poland ranked 68th.

Poland was ahead of countries such as Russia (106) and Greece (100), but behind Ireland (8), Germany (20), Spain (38), and the Czech Republic (56). It has the lowest ranking among the new member countries of the European Union.

The report praised Poland for its reforms in reducing the cost of registering property and making it easier to enforce contracts. But the World Bank found that Poland's performance across the indicators was uneven. The country ranked 33rd in terms of investor protection, but 156th on the ease of dealing with licenses.

Croatia was the region's top reformer and along with three other countries in the region, Macedonia, Georgia and Bulgaria, it also ranked among the top 10 reformers in the world.

The top-ranked countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were Estonia (17), Georgia (18), Latvia (22), Lithuania (26), Slovakia (32), Armenia (39), Hungary (45), Bulgaria (46), and Romania (48).

"The results show that as governments ease regulations for doing business, more entrepreneurs go into business; and this is especially evident in Eastern Europe," said Simeon Djankov, lead author of the report. "Eastern Europe has witnessed a boom in new business entry that rivals the rapid growth in East Asia in the past."

According to the report, the potential areas for reforms to improve the ease of doing business in Poland in the short term include eliminating the minimum capital requirement; speeding up the approval of building permits; and expanding online tax payments.

The report notes that these reforms are either administrative in nature or can be accomplished quickly through targeted government action. They can have a large impact on the business climate in Poland by eliminating red tape. Such "quick wins" could also create an environment in which medium-term, deeper reforms are more likely to succeed.

Doing Business 2008 ranks 178 economies on the ease of doing business based on 10 business regulation indicators. The rankings track indicators of the time and cost to meet government requirements in business startup, operation, trade, taxation, and closure. They do not track variables such as macroeconomic policy, quality of infrastructure, currency volatility, investor perception, or crime rates.

Jolanta Wolska
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