By Amy Glass
Bureaucracy makes Emirates most difficult of all GCC countries to do business in, says World Bank.
The UAE is the most difficult of all the GCC countries to do business in, according to a report by the World Bank presented at a workshop in Dubai on Wednesday.
The Doing Business 2008 report places the Emirates 68th out of 178 countries, below Saudi Arabia (23), Kuwait (40) and Oman (49).
The World Bank said Saudi Arabia’s high ranking came after it eliminated the bureaucracy which had previously ranked it as one of the world’s most difficult places to start a business.
The UAE’s low ranking is due to the challenges in starting a business, protecting investors, getting credit, and enforcing contracts, the report said.
The report found that it took 62 days to start a business in the UAE, with eleven separate procedures required. The minimum capital to start a business is 312.4% of the average income per capita.
Mohammed Al Gergawi, UAE minister for Cabinet Affairs said at the workshop that while he was concerned about the methodology of the report, new government initiatives would lift the UAE's ranking in 2009.
The study also placed the UAE in the top 10 areas for ease of registering property, and paying taxes.
Other Middle East countries ranked in the report included Jordan (80), Lebanon (85), Yemen (113), Egypt (126) and Iran (135).
Gulf states Bahrain and Qatar were not included in the study but would be ranked in the 2009 study, the report said.
Singapore topped the ease of doing business rankings, followed by the US and New Zealand.
The World Bank report follows a low UAE position in the 2008 Index of Economic Freedom which was published last month.
The UAE government later disputed the index, which ranked the UAE below neighbouring countries Bahrain, Oman, Jordan and Kuwait in terms business freedom, investment freedom, property rights and other economic areas.
To specify how long it takes to start up a business in the UAE is useless information. Setting up in each emirates is totally different. In Dubai I opened within three weeks, this could have been quicker had needed. (This assumes you already have an office). Residence visa take 2-3 weeks. However when I set up in Sharjah it did take over 2 months. Visa also took 2 months to complete.
It is difficult in Abu Dhabi/ Register name / Register Chamber / Rent Office (this will take ages) / Muncipality Check / Muncipality Registeration / Labour Files / Immigration Files / Apply Visa / Labour Check / Get Visa / Open Bank Account / Get Phones & Communcation - only then is your business operation.. 60 days? That's too short!