Efficient Sweden among top ten in ease of doing business

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Despite higher costs than Malaysia, Sweden improved its administrative efficiency in dealing with companies carrying out business there, observes Benedict Lopez.

Sweden is ranked ninth in a recently released World Bank report on the ease of doing business.

The 2017 edition of the report, which is the 14th instalment of the annual study, appraises policies and regulations which boosts business activities in a country. The World Bank survey covered 190 countries.

Topping the list of nations is New Zealand, followed by Singapore and Denmark. Malaysia is ranked 23rd, down from 18th the year before.

Contrary to its reputation of being a country with difficult bureaucratic procedures for doing business, Sweden is underscored in this year’s report as becoming an increasingly efficient country for companies to conduct commercial operations.

The reported cited increased administrative efficiency as among the factors contributing to the improvement. The country was also commended for new automatic registration of mortgages as well as renewal of ownership.

“Sweden implemented a reform in the area of registering property that is underlined in the latest report,” noted Indira Chand, senior communications officer at the World Bank. “Sweden’s score also improved to 82.13 on the distance-to-frontier measure, an absolute measure towards best practices.”

The report also mentioned Sweden as being one of the countries that made major strides in improvements in ease of registering property rights, with surprisingly only Rwanda ahead in this respect.

New Zealand, Singapore, Denmark and Sweden are ranked among the top ten countries, despite the cost of doing business being relatively higher compared with countries like Malaysia. This indicates that cost is only one of the considerations appraised by foreign investors and international organisations when evaluating the cost-competitiveness of any country.

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Besides cost, other notable factors taken into consideration by foreign investors when assessing a country for investments include political and economic stability, risks, business policies, transparency, monetary and fiscal policies, bureaucracy, human capital, logistics, infrastructure and intellectual property protection.

Reference: The Local, thelocal.se

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Benedict Lopez was director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority in Stockholm and economics counsellor at the Malaysian embassy there in 2010-2014. He covered all five Nordic countries in the course of his work. An eternal optimist and now an Aliran member, he believes Malaysia can provide its people with the same benefits and privileges found in the Nordic countries - not a far-fetched dream but one that he hopes will be realised in his lifetime
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