Cambodia has slipped three notches in the ease of doing business index, sitting at 138 out of 190 countries, said the Doing Business 2019 report released by the World Bank on Wednesday. The Kingdom was ranked at 135 this year.
This is the third year in a row that Cambodia has slipped in the annual ranking. Last year, the Kingdom sat at 131 – down from 127 out of 190 countries in 2016.
The report shows that Cambodia has not made any positive reforms over the past years. It also indicates that starting a business in Cambodia remains a challenge.
Completing all the necessary steps to legally start a business in Cambodia takes 99 days on average, the report said.
On the upside
Cambodia performed slightly better on the cost of dealing with construction permits, with the report putting it at 3.3 per cent of warehouse value for next year. The figure is lower than the 5.3 per cent recorded for this year.
“Cambodia made dealing with construction permits less costly by reducing the fees to obtain a permit,” the report said.
The Doing Business 2019 report ranks Cambodia behind most of its fellow Asean member states, except Laos and Myanmar which ranked at 154 and 171, respectively.
Within Asean, Singapore was placed second out of the 190 countries, followed by Malaysia (15), Thailand (27), Brunei Darussalam (55), Vietnam (69) and Indonesia (73).
Supreme National Economic Council (SNEC) senior adviser Mey Kalyan said yesterday that the new ranking could be used as a benchmark to see how Cambodia has progressed compared with other countries.
He said it could also be used as a reflection of what the Kingdom is up to now and which areas it needs to improve.
“In any case, we need to work harder to improve our investment environment and strengthen our competitiveness,” he said.
Kalyan said Cambodia needed to reduce lengthy and complicated steps in obtaining permits and slash the cost of starting a business.
“Digitalisation is the new way to improve our system. Automation makes administrative work less complicated and is effective in preventing informal charges to [prospective business owners],” he said.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng said yesterday that the process of doing business in the Kingdom had improved compared to the past.
“I think our investment environment keeps improving. As businesses, we appreciate this progress,” he said, adding that Cambodia has been lucrative for foreign investors from China, Japan and Korea.
The report also put Cambodia’s overall score at 54.8 – an increase from this year’s 54.47.
“We are improving and others are also improving. The slip in the ranking is likely due to other countries having progressed faster,” Heng said.