Reforms focused on staring a business and dealing with construction permits have enabled Saudi Arabia to be the number 1 improver on the Doing Business 2020 index unveiled by the World Bank.
The authorities of the oil-rich country have established a one-stop store for company incorporation. It removed the requirement for married women to provide additional documentations when applying for national identity cards.
Saudi Arabia also streamlined and merged pre- and post-registration of business.
The Middle Eastern country is followed by Jordan, Togo and Bahrain on the list of the top 10 improvers.
Jordan, the second-best improver and a new addition to the top 10 list, strengthened access to credit by introducing a new secured transactions law. It amended the insolvency law and launched a unified, modern and notice-based collateral registry.
Bordered by Saudi Arabia to the south and the east, Jordan also eased tax payments by implementing electronic tax filing.
India and Pakistan are among the top 10 improved economies too.
India, which has carried out commendable reforms, made cross-border trade easier by cutting the costs and time associated with border and documentation requirements. Its reform efforts targeted all the areas measured by the Doing Business index, with a focus on paying taxes, trading across borders, and resolving insolvency.
Easing the process of registering a deed allowed Pakistan to make property registration easier and faster. The country increased the transparency of the land administration system. It also set up a national secretariat as well as a prime minister's reform steering committee to ensure progress.
The other top improvers are Tajikistan, Kuwait, China and Nigeria.
Tajikistan made getting credit easier with the launch of a unified, modern, and notice-based collateral agency. Kuwait, which appeared on the top 10 list for the first time, strengthened protection for minority investors by providing a 21-day notice for general assembly meetings.
China made paying taxes easier by implementing preferential tax treatment on corporate income tax rates for small and thin-profit enterprises. Nigeria made enforcing contracts easier by enhancing the quality of judicial processes.
The top 10 economies implemented a total of 59 regulatory reforms in 2018-19, accounting for one-fifth of all the reforms recorded worldwide.
Bahrain implemented the highest number of regulatory reforms (nine), improving in almost every area measured by the Doing Business index. China and Saudi Arabia follow Bahrain with eight reforms each.