Bulgaria is ranked 11 positions down (50th now from 39th) in the annual ranking of the World Bank Group for doing business. The ranking is based on different criteria such as access to electricity, receiving of construction licenses, ownership registering, contract implementation, starting of business etc.
Bulgaria is ranked best under the cross-border trade criterion, where this country takes the 21st position. The following indexes also reveal relatively good positions: minority owners’ protection (24th position); contract implementation (40th) and loan receiving (42nd). The country is worst under the ‘joining the electricity grid’ criteria – no less than 37 positions down, now taking the 141st place. The business start-up criteria (95th) and tax payment (90th position) criteria are also poorly met. A total of 190 countries have been included into the study and New Zealand is still the leader.
The first 20 states have been moving into the right direction and provide suitable business environment to entrepreneurs. The ones from the bottom positions and even from the second half of the rankings show lower income levels, more difficult entrepreneurship with lower living standard. This research is a landmark on the country’s direction, said in an interview for RB CEO of the Institute for Market Economics Svetla Kostadinova:
“Unfortunately the latest poll showed Bulgaria’s dropping several positions down, with no positive change registered under most of the criteria. There is some minimal positive change under 4 criteria, due mainly to the income rising per capita. I.e. even those positive changes do not come as a result of administrative efforts, aimed at easing business. This makes us regret missed opportunities, as most of the indexes in the research are within the authority of administration. The improvement of these administrative procedures depends on political will. Excessively irrational and archaic requirements prevent us from doing business better and this has its impact on everyone. When entrepreneurs can’t expand and start new business, this means fewer opportunities for other entrepreneurs and also fewer opportunities for local entrepreneurs to compete with countries where the business environment is better.”
Still, the current government has put some effort into organizing the administration over the past few months, Svetla Kostadinova says. The goal is the removal of illogical or non functioning administrative regimes and requirements, in order for better cooperation between the separate administration to be achieved with the purpose of not using citizens and companies as couriers. The administration has also been set with deadlines for reports by the end of the year.
The research of the World Bank shows that administrative reforms can be quickly made – Estonia for instance demonstrated excellent copy-paste of good practices and actual results within a year or two. “Macedonia is now the example state with over 40 positions up scored over the past 3 – 4 years and now it is among Top 15. So we hope that next year we will have some progress…” Svetla Kostadinova said and added:
“However, this is not enough, as Bulgaria has received the lowest assessment under two major indicators, related to the work of the judicial system and the executive power has limited authority there – the way it should be. That system should reform itself, in order to gain trust and receive public support, so that anyone can start feeling safer about our property and business. The two indicators which assess the work of the judicial system within the survey – insolvency proceedings and the contract implementation process show that Bulgaria’s progress over the past decade has been minimal and we scratch the bottom, compared to the rest of the EU member-states.”