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IFC Helps Bhutan Simplify Business Licensing, Saving Costs and Boosting Investment

Thimpuh, Bhutan, April 27, 2012— IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the government of Bhutan to streamline business registration and regulation, aiming to save $1 million in compliance costs for local businesses and boost foreign investment in the country.
The Investment Climate Reform program of the South Asia Enterprise Development Facility is supporting the project. IFC manages the program in partnership with the UK Department of International Development and the Norwegian Agency for Development Cooperation.
Dasho Sonam Tshering, Bhutan’s Economic Affairs Secretary, said, “These initiatives are expected to help the Royal Government to reform the selected priority licences, increase service efficiency and achieve time and cost savings for both the private sector and the administrating agency through transparent licensing information.”
The Ministry of Economic Affairs will establish a new policy for licensing reforms to reduce the burden of compliance on local businesses. Reforms are expected to eliminate overlapping approvals and streamline requirements for setting up and operating businesses.
According to Doing Business 2012, Bhutan ranks 142 nd in “ease of doing business” and 83 rd in “starting a business”. It takes up to six months to get a project approved. The initiative builds on IFC’s earlier work on business registration legislation. IFC helped inventory business entry licenses and evaluate 72 licenses issued by 28 agencies, identifying systemic gaps impacting investors, such as time and cost involved and access to information.
Paramita Dasgupta, IFC regional head of Investment Climate Advisory Services, said, “Our support to Bhutan on licensing reform will enhance transparency and improve investor access to licensing information.” All licensing information will be eventually available both online and on site through printed information charters.
The project will begin by working to improve the regulatory requirements underlying agribusiness and food security. Streamlining the three priority licenses in these sectors is expected to reduce compliance costs for agribusinesses by10 percent and to cut the time required to comply with regulatory procedures by 25 percent.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information, visit www.ifc.org
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