The World Bank Doing Business Report measures aspects of regulation that enable or prevent private sector businesses from starting, operating and expanding. In the 14th edition of the report, Mauritius is ranked 49th out of 190 countries. New Zealand is the economy with the highest ranking in 2017, taking over from Singapore, and is closely followed by Denmark.
The Doing Business environment is measured through 11 indicators. In Mauritius, we note an improvement in the cost of starting a business which has decreased from 2.0% to 1.8% of per capita income, mainly due to recent decreases in trade fees. However, there is a discrepancy in the procedures, as the Registrar has the discretion to request marriage certificates for married women, increasing their time to start a business by 1 day as compared to men.
Moreover, the cost of construction permits remains high, at 0.6% of the warehouse value, whilst it still takes on average 156 days to get all permits. The situation is more critical on access to electricity, where it takes on average 81 days and 247.7% of income per capita. The country scores alarmingly zero on a maximum of 8 on the reliability of supply and transparency of electricity tariffs.
The Doing Business Report further shows an increase in the effective tax rate in Mauritius from 21.5% in 2015 to 21.8% in 2016, with CSR contributions and an increase in fuel taxes. The extension of excise duty on sugar content and the inconsistencies in VAT refund on banking services have contributed to the increase.
Mauritius is also faced by high freight related charges at the port and airport. Documentary procedures, customs and other costs are particularly high as compared to other countries. In Mauritius, the costs related to export, excluding the freight and inland transport are at $431 and the costs related to import is at $538. In 18 countries, including Austria, Denmark, France, and Italy, the cost is zero.
As a reminder, the MCCI has for a number of years been a strong advocate on Ease of Doing Business issues and continues to work in close collaboration with public and private stakeholders to create a more conducive business environment in Mauritius.
A full report of the Doing Business Report 2017 can be accessed here.