Egypt has succeeded, for the fifth time within six consecutive years, to improve its ranking in the Doing Business report and enhance its investment climate and business environment. Egypt has managed throughout the past period to jump 71 positions as compared to 2006.
This came in the annual "Doing Business" report issued by the World Bank and International Finance Corporation (IFC), which was launched on Tuesday, November 2, 2010 from the IFC headquarters in Washington, and - via a video conference – at the IFC headquarters in a number of countries covered within the report including Egypt.
It is noteworthy that the Doing Business report monitors the ease/difficulty of implementing investment projects in 183 nations across the world. It also compares the legislative requirements, as well as the time and cost for providing government services in these countries. The report, in particular, assesses the time, cost and institutional structure associated with the procedures of establishing companies, obtaining construction licenses, registering property, receiving credit and paying taxes. Furthermore, it monitors steps taken by governments to facilitate import and export procedures, litigation procedures and the time needed for the settlement of disputes to enforce contracts, protect the rights of minority shareholders and ensure safe market exit.
On the occasion of launching the "Doing Business" report of 2011, His Excellency Rachid Mohamed Rachid, Minister of Trade and Industry and acting Minister of Investment, appreciated the efforts exerted by all government bodies for the sake of facilitating the business environment and improving the investment climate, especially in the fields of 'Starting a Business' and 'Trading across Borders', where Egypt ranked 18th and 21st respectively among 183 countries. These two indices came on the top of reforms list this year, and were the main drivers that led Egypt to improve its classification overall.
It is worth mentioning that between 2006 and 2010, Egypt succeeded to make a great leap of 108 positions in the indicator of Starting a Business; 84 positions in the area of getting credit; 54 positions in the area of property registration; 65 positions in the area of trading across borders; 31 positions in the area of protecting investors; 16 positions in the area of paying taxes; 11 positions in the area of construction permits; and, finally, 3 positions in the area of enforcing contracts.
On his part, Dr. Ziad Bahaa El-Din, Chairman of the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority – EFSA - who also presides over the Egyptian government's working group on proposing the development policies and following up their implementation, stated that this achievement is attributed to the joint efforts and coordination amongst more than twenty-five government authorities, bodies and ministries, namely the ministries of Finance, Electricity and Energy, Justice, Administrative Development, Investment, Housing, Utilities and Urban Development, Trade and Industry, Transportation, Local Development, as well as the Central Bank of Egypt, the Egyptian Financial Supervisory Authority, the General Authority for Investment, the Egyptian Institute of Directors, Tax Department, Egyptian Customs, the General Organization for Export and Import Control, Egyptian Credit Bureau (i-score) and other bodies and companies operating in the field of extending facilities and services.
It should be noted that over this period, Egypt managed to improve its position on different indicators and implement a number of reforms and facilities including: establishing the One-Stop Shop system in the General Authority for Investment, removing restrictions on the minimum capital of limited liability companies, reducing incorporation fees, launching the e-business, issuing the Unified Construction Law, reducing fees of property registration as well as capping its fees to LE 2,000, establishing the Egyptian Credit Bureau (i-score), issuing the Tax Law No. 91 of 2005, reducing the value of corporate tax to up to 20%, reducing the average tariff several times to reach 6.9% and reducing the tariff items from 27 to 6 items.
Moreover, Egypt succeeded to realize several achievements in the field of the automation of Egyptian ports, application of e-services in export and import procedures, providing the one-stop shop service for obtaining documents necessary for export and import, facilitating trade exchange operations through applying an electronic system for export and import documents and the issuance of Economic Courts Law in May 2008. The economic courts have been active since October 2008.
With the purpose of completing efforts to improve the investment climate and develop the business environment, Minister Rachid stressed keenness of the Egyptian authorities in the coming period to pursue reform measures through upgrading institutional setup and developing the legislative infrastructure, in particular with regard to access to credit, enforcement of contracts, protecting investors, and ease of market entry and exit.