The World Bank Group’s latest “Doing Business” report ranks Thailand in 26th place among 190 economies in the ease of doing business for small and medium enterprises around the world – up from 48th place when applying the same methodology to last year’s and this year’s data.
The report also recognises Thailand as one of top 10 economies that have improved most in the ease of doing business in the last year.
Released today, “Doing Business 2018: Reforming to Create Jobs”, finds that Thailand made impressive strides, having adopted eight reforms in the past year, a record for the country in a single year.
“In addition to improving the regulatory framework that was an obstacle to doing business by invoking Section 44, the government also supported the development of a comprehensive Doing Business portal to be launched in 2019 to provide easier and faster services for business owners,” said Thossaporn Srisamphan, secretary-general, Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC).
“Thailand has made immense progress in doing business reforms this past year, with strong government leadership at the highest levels,” said Ulrich Zachau, World Bank director for Thailand, Malaysia and Regional Partnerships.
“With its 26th place ranking, Thailand has risen into the top 15 per cent of countries globally in the ease of doing business – a great achievement. We look forward to continuing our strong partnership with Thailand in support of a strong business environment, and more good jobs for more people all across the country."
Several recent major improvements in the ease of doing business stand out. For example, Thailand abolished a requirement to obtain a company seal and eliminated the need for approval of company work regulations from the Labour Department. As a result, the time taken to start a business has been reduced to just 4.5 days, compared to 27.5 days previously.
Thailand also introduced an automatic risk-based system for selecting companies for a tax audit; reduced the property transfer tax rate; adopted legislation to broaden the scope of assets that can be used as collateral; and is now using geographic information systems for access to electricity.
Thailand is continuing systematic reforms to strengthen the business environment further, focusing on areas with room for further improvements, such as enforcing contracts, registering property, and paying taxes.
For example, the time required to enforce contracts is 420 days, compared with the best recorded practice of 164 days in Singapore. On registering property, the cost of transferring property is 7.3 per cent of the property value, above the regional average of 4.3 per cent. Additional simplification in paying taxes -– where Thailand ranks 67th globally and it takes 262 hours on average to prepare, file and pay taxes – will also be important.
This year’s “Doing Business” report includes a case study that highlights successful insolvency reform in Thailand and lessons learned for other economies.