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East African States Boost Appeal With Red Tape Cuts

by Lorys Charalambous,, Cyprus

16 April 2012

A new report shows that the business environment in all five economies of the East African Community - Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda - improved substantially in 2010-11, with the implementation of significant regulatory reforms, including to ease the burden of paying taxes.

The report from the International Finance Corporation and World Bank on April 11, 2012, found that Burundi was one of the top ten most improved economies for doing business worldwide in 2010-11, with four regulatory reforms, in the areas of construction permits, protecting investors, paying taxes and resolving insolvency.

Rwanda, the top performer in the region, made the most progress over the past six years. Worldwide, it made the second-most progress. Over that period, Rwanda implemented 22 reforms, making it easier to do business across nine areas of regulation. Additionally, the economy has undertaken ambitious land and judicial reforms, introduced new corporate, insolvency, civil procedure, and secured transactions laws. Rwanda has also streamlined and remodeled institutions and processes for starting a business, registering property, trading across borders, and enforcing a contract through the courts, the report says.

A popular trade facilitation reform among the EAC economies has been implementing electronic systems for customs declaration. Export time in the region dropped from an average of 40 days in 2006 to 29 days in 2011. Meanwhile, import time was cut nearly in half from 60 days in 2006 to 33 days in 2011.

On the subject of tax payments, Burundi has been recognized as having reduced the frequency of payment for social security contributions from monthly to quarterly as part of efforts to cut the compliance burden, while Rwandan reforms to improve the self-assessment system were lauded by the two organizations as globally competitive.

TAGS: court | environment | compliance | tax | business | law | social security | Kenya | Rwanda | Uganda | construction | regulation | trade | Burundi | Tanzania

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