22 November 2012

Zambia: Experts Disagree With World Bank Over Ranking

MORE local experts have discredited the World Bank 2013 cost of doing business ranking for Zambia describing it as narrow and unrepresentative because most of the latest reforms the country has made were allegedly not included.

A Ministry of Commerce, Trade and Industry official and the Private Sector Development Association (PSDA) said the report did not take a gross sectorial approach and hence unbalanced.

Commerce, Trade and Industry Ministry private sector perform programme officer Kayula Siame said those who carried out the findings on the cost of doing business lacked information on various latest reforms the country had made.

Ms Kayula said a lot of changes had taken place since the last report but the World Bank decided to use outdated information which did not reflect what was obtaining on the ground.

"The report to me is narrow and it does not represent what is obtaining on the ground, a lot of reforms have been made aimed at reducing the cost of doing business, especially for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)," she said.

A one stop shop where individual who wanted to register businesses, get information on the type of investment and other licences could be accessed at one point is now in place.

Ms Siame was speaking during the discussion forum organised by the Centre for Trade Policy and Development (CTPD) to look at the implications of the results of the 2013 Doing Business Report on the Zambian business as well as on the on-going private sector reform efforts.

She said the introduction of name search on Patents and Companies Registration Authority (PACRA) was another reform the report did not take into consideration.

PSDA chairperson Yusuf Dodia said the report concentrated more on foreign investment rather than local and had not provided a clear picture on the sampled sectors as few people were interviewed.

"The findings seem to be on the side of foreign investment side than local. For example from the 10 people sampled you find they were all foreigners and what do you get at the end of the research? Unbalanced report," Mr Dodia said.

He called for locally produced reports carried by the public sector so that a lot of issues were addressed rather than having a report representing few respondents.

World Bank country economist Anwar Ravat said the report though described by the local economists as poor and not representative would help both the Government and the private sector to make some improvements on doing business in the country.

Mr Ravat admitted that the country was on the right path on doing business despite the ranking saying the percentage was supposed to be higher looking at the number of countries sampled this time around.

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