By Pamela Almeda, Channel NewsAsia

Date        :       26 September 2007 1751 hrs (SST)


SINGAPORE : Singapore has been named the easiest place in the world to do business for the second year running.

The annual rankings were released in the 'Doing Business 2008' report by the World Bank. A total of 178 places were surveyed for the report.

Singapore has kept its top spot, followed by New Zealand, the United States and Hong Kong.

"This Doing Business report by the World Bank is meant for foreign investors and enterprises who are interested to enter these countries, and invest and do business in these countries. Singapore, by being number one, shows that it is number one destination for businesses to come here," said Ryan Ang, Liaison Officer, World Bank Group Office.

The rankings are based on 10 indicators that track time and cost to meet government requirements in business start-up, operation, trade, taxation and closure.

Singapore outshone the rest with its efficient business processes, many of which are online. The availability of one-stop shops also spells out low-cost and significant time savings for businesses.

Other factors in its favour include the secure credit environment and high level of protection for investors. But Singapore also continues to improve its business processes.

Ang said: "The one minor reform that we did was the number of days or number of procedures to start a business. Singapore reduced that from 6 to 5 from 2006 to this year, so that is a significant improvement for Singapore."

The 'Doing Business' report also studied efforts by economies to simplify their business regulation.

Egypt emerged as the economy which had made the most progress in this area. China also stood out - with its new private property rights and a new bankruptcy law.

The World Bank's annual 'Doing Business' report was first released in 2002. - CNA /ls