Ease of Doing Business : ‘Local arbitration takes 1,400 days on average’ | Sunday Observer

Ease of Doing Business : ‘Local arbitration takes 1,400 days on average’

The business community while commending Sri Lanka’s recent ranking in the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) index, noted that the country should be among the top 50, to position itself as a preferred destination for investment and launching of new business ventures, if it hopes to take the country to the next level of growth.

Sri Lanka moved 11 slots up, to be ranked the 100th in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index released last week. The Index ranks the investment climates of 190 countries.

The World Bank in its ‘Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform’ report states that governments set a new record in bureaucracy busting efforts for the domestic private sector, by implementing 314 business reforms over the past year.

Rohan Pallewatte, Chairman Lanka Harnest (Pvt) Limited. said Sri Lanka needs to further improve its EDB rank, so as to attract more investors. “It is an indicator for foreign direct investors to decide before investing in a country”.

He said there has to be a concerted effort to improve the ranking, which will help convince investors who would otherwise turn to other countries that have a better ranking in the index.

“Sri Lanka introduced international arbitration by passing local arbitration which is time consuming when it comes to solving commercial disputes. Commercial arbitration in the country takes on average around 1,400 days, whereas it takes only around 160 days in Singapore. We must bring the number of days to at least 300 to expedite commercial arbitration,” Pallewatte said.

A country is ranked in the Ease of Doing Business Index, taking into account 16 criteria, of which EDB is one.

Past President Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industries of Sri Lanka Nawaz Rajabdeen said the focus should be on the country and all political parties should come together and solve the issues affecting the economy.

“Industries are the backbone of the country and steps should be taken to revive sick industries,” Rajabdeen said. Rohan Masakorala, Shippers Academy CEO, said the recent EDB ranking is good news as we have scored well to move up 11 slots from last year which is due to the hard work and commitment of both the public and private sectors. However, this is just the beginning and more has to be done to get our ranking among the top 50 countries in the EDB index particularly because we had a better ranking in the past.

Bart van Dijk, Daraz.lk Country Manager, said in the EDB Sri Lanka is far better than many countries in the region.

‘I have worked in many South Asian countries. Starting and continuing business in Sri Lanka is much easier than certain other countries in the region,’ Dijk said.

However, statistics indicate that less than one percent of the population in Sri Lanka, trade on- line, which accounts for about US$ 50 to 60 million worth of trade a year.

The reforms carried out in 128 economies benefits small and medium enterprises and entrepreneurs, enabling creation and stimulation of private investment.

This year’s reforms surpass the previous all time high of 290 reforms, two years ago.