Vietnam moves up in business-friendly rankings: WB report

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Vietnam has earned a spot among the 10 most-improved economies in the ease of doing business, moving up 10 places in the latest World Bank survey.

Improvements in easing business start-ups, granting construction permits and sharing credit information have helped Vietnam rise to number 78 in global rankings, according to Doing Business 2011, an annual survey published by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the World Bank.

"The Vietnamese government's efforts on regulatory and public administrative reforms are reflected in Doing Business 2011 and in the improvement of Vietnam's overall ranking," Simon Andrews, IFC Regional Manager for Vietnam, Cambodia, Lao PDR and Thailand, said in a statement on Thursday. "Looking forward, it will be important to continue the focus on implementation of reform and maintaining the momentum of reform."

The survey found that the economies of East Asia and the Pacific were among the most active reformers for the first time in eight years, with emerging-market economies such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Vietnam taking the lead.

Vietnam eased company start-up by creating a one-stop shop and made dealing with construction permits easier, it said.

Nguyen Dinh Cung, head of Central Institute for Economic Management, said Vietnam has in fact made a lot of effort to improve its business environment.

However, as the Doing Business survey only measures nine of so many aspects of the business environment, it would not be accurate to say the country has made significant progress based on the survey alone, he said.

Victoria Kwakwa, country director of the World Bank in Vietnam, said there are still many aspects that the country has to improve.

Vietnam needs to see the importance of the private sector, and improvements in the business environment need to benefit more small- and medium-sized companies, she said.

Globally, governments worldwide have been consistently taking steps to empower local entrepreneurs, said Neil Gregory, director of global indicators and analysis at the World Bank.

"The economies most affected by the financial crisis especially in Eastern Europe have been targeting regulatory reforms over the past year to make it easier for small and medium-size enterprises to recover and to create jobs," he said in a statement.

Singapore has topped the list of 183 economies for five years running, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand, the UK and the US.

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