Kuwait Witnesses Reforms Improvements in Ease of Doing Business Index

Kuwait Direct Investment Promotion Authority (KDIPA) announced that the State of Kuwait witnessed improvement in its position in the Ease of Doing Business Index 2018 (DB2018), released by the World Bank Group on October 31, 2017, and in its Distance to Frontier (DTF) score. This is a direct outcome of actively implementing the National Agenda for Streamlining Business Environment (dubbed as Tahseen Program) developed with technical support by the World Bank, and approved by the Council of Ministers. The improvements were reinforced by KDIPA’s continuous coordination as head of the Permanent Committee for Streamlining Business Environment & Enhancing Competitiveness in the State of Kuwait (PCK), in accordance with its mandated tasks and designation by the Council of Ministers Decision No. 1551/2013, in close collaboration with relevant government entities, and the private sector.

KDIPA clarified that the State of Kuwait rank in the Ease of Doing Index 2018 (DB2018), composed of ten topics that measures various regulatory aspects of the lifecycle of business, advanced by 6 places to 96 out of 190 included in this year’s report, compared to 102 in DB2017, holding the eighth rank within the Arab countries, and maintaining a leading sixth rank in the Paying Taxes topic. Furthermore, Kuwait DTF score increased by 1.52% to 61.23% in DB2018 from 59.71% (adjusted) in DB2017.

This favorable outcome was warranted to a host of reforms undertaken during the period covered by the report extending from June 2, 2016 till June 1, 2017.

In Starting a Business topic, the number of procedures dropped from 12 to 9, the number of days reduced from 61 to 38, the cost went down from 2.8% to 1.7% (as % of per capita income), and the cost of minimum capital dropped from 10.2% to 8.5% (as % of per capita income), which yielded a notable rise in Kuwait’s DTF score by 10.44% reaching 77.21% up from 66.77%. This is attributed to the favorable impact resulting from the activation of the Ministerial Decision No. 161/2016 as amended by MD No. 280/2016 establishing the national one stop shop (OSS), whereby both KDIPA and the National Fund for Small and Medium Enterprise Development (NFK) are part of, along with launching its online version (Kuwait Business Centre “KBC”), which fully utilizes electronic transactions leading to the improvement of online establishment and registration of companies.

The report also noted the reforms taken by the Ministry of Justice and Kuwait Municipality in the Registering Property Topic particularly in improving the transparency of the land administration system resulting the halving in the number of days for registering property from 70 to 35.

KDIPA concluded its statement commending the relentless efforts carried out by all the government entities members of the Permanent Committee for Streamlining Business Environment & Enhancing Competitiveness in the State of Kuwait (PCK) and others, who took part in the activities organized by KDIPA. Moreover, KDIPA reiterated that the road of reform in still lengthy and needs constant cooperation amongst government, private sector and civil society to fulfil the priority measures approved in the National Agenda for Streamlining Business Environment (Tahseen Program) for the short and medium terms. The first phase of reforms covered six out of ten topics comprising the ease of doing business index (Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, Registering Property, Trading Across Borders, Resolving Insolvency, and Getting Electricity), while the remaining four topics (Enforcing Contracts, Protecting Minority Investors, Getting Credit, Paying Taxes) will be realized by end of 2017 with ongoing technical support by the World Bank.

KDIPA hopes that launching Tahseen Portal will effectively support current efforts by serving as an interactive platform to document all laws, decisions, and measures taken and make them available to the general public, as well as using it to measure progress of the implementation of the National Agenda for Streamlining Business Environment (Tahseen Program) and display reforms’ achievement rates. In doing so, Kuwait validates its resolve to improve business environment and place it at the core of its reform policy priorities, guided by successful cases in this regard elsewhere in the world.