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Saudi Arabia 2nd Worldwide in Implementing Business Climate Reforms for 2018

Saudi Arabia 2nd Worldwide in Implementing Business Climate Reforms for 2018

Wednesday, 1 November, 2017 - 10:00
The World Bank Group. Reuters

As an indication for the positive economic reforms carried out by Saudi Arabia, the Kingdom has achieved an unprecedented progress in the indicators of ease of doing business for 2018.

This was followed by the implementation of many reforms and measures that would contribute to improving the business environment, investment and boosting investor confidence, according to a world report.

The Kingdom is among the top 20 countries in the world and the second among the most high-income in G-20 countries at making reforms to improve the business climate, a recent World Bank Group report said.

Saudi Arabia’s progress in ease of doing business for 2018 excelled in six of 10 axes: protecting minority investors, enforcing contracts, starting a business, cross-border trade, registering property and settling bankruptcy, the report added.

The Kingdom’s strong reforms have led to progress in protecting the minority shareholders, ranking 10th in the world, which is a strong signal to those interested in investing in the Kingdom, according to the report.

The reforms also included facilitating payment of taxes by improving the electronic filing system to raise tax returns and pay taxes. It reduced the number of hours required to pay taxes from 67 to 47 hours, the report highlighted.

It further noted that the Kingdom has facilitated cross-border trade by reducing the number of documents required for customs clearance, reducing the processing time required for nine days for exports (from 90 days to 81 days) and imports (from 131 days to 122 days).

One of the other reforms undertaken by the Kingdom has been to improve the efficiency of the land management system by simplifying registration procedures.

It has an effective land registration system, with the transfer process taking only one and a half day, at no cost, the report said, adding that by contrast, it takes more than 22 days and costs an average of 4.2 percent of the value of the property in Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) high-income countries.

This is the first time that the Kingdom achieves reforms in six axes in one year. It had only four reforms in 2009 and 2011.

Saudi Arabia proceeds on minority shareholding investors scale from 63 to 10, which the global minority protection index, following reforms that contributed to increasing shareholders' equity and their role in important decision making, clarifying ownership and control structures, demanding greater corporate transparency and regulating the process of disclosure of transactions with interested parties and other controls and requirements, it confirmed.

The Kingdom's ranking rose from 105 to 83 on worldwide enforcement of contracts indicator due to time and cost required to settle commercial disputes in courts as well as the quality of judicial proceedings and effectiveness of the court system, the report underscored.

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