Egypt falls to 131st spot in World Bank's 2016 Doing Business report

Ahram Online , Wednesday 28 Oct 2015

Cairo's Nile City Towers, home to several multinational companies (Photo: Reuters)

Egypt slid five spots this year, ranking 131st out of 189 countries for “Ease of Doing Business,” in the World Bank Group's Doing Business report for 2016, which was released on Tuesday.

The report, which examines regulations and regulatory processes involved in setting up and operating a business in different economies worldwide, measures factors like the time it takes to start a business, the ease of registering property, access to credit, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency, among others.

The country fell four spots to 73rd place in the "Starting a Business" category, and eight spots in the "Getting Credit" category to 79th place.

Egypt's government has undertaken a series of legal and administrative reforms in recent years in a bid to attract local and foreign investment to revive an economy battered by four years of turmoil following a 2011 uprising that toppled autocrat Hosni Mubarak.

Earlier this year, it issued a new investment law establishing a one-stop-shop to facilitate business procedures such as obtaining permits.

The country slid two spots to rank 111th in "Registering Property" and another five spots in the "Paying Taxes" category to 151st place.

The government has been criticised for an unpredictable tax policy under the government of President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi.

The income tax ceiling was hiked to 30 percent in July 2014, excluding special economic zones, and then the ceiling was reduced to 22.5 percent earlier this year, which is now applicable to economic zones.

A capital gains tax was also introduced last year and repealed last May after having gone into effect.

In terms of "Enforcing Contracts" and "Trading across Borders," Egypt ranked the same as last year, as 155th and 157th, respectively.

However, the country rose 11 places to rank 122nd in the "Protecting Minority Investors," for "barring subsidiaries from acquiring shares issued by their parent company," said the World Bank Group.

There was also a small improvement in "Resolving Insolvency," where Egypt ranked two spots higher than last year at 119th.

Egypt is hoping to attract private investments worth LE236.5 billion ($29.8 billion) this fiscal year, according to Planning Minister Ashraf El-Araby.

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