8. ENABLING LEGAL & REGULATORY ENVIRONMENT

REGULATORY FRAMEWORK

1. Are regulatory functions centralized or decentralized at the different levels of government (i.e. state, provinces, municipal)?

  • Is this positive or negative?
  • Does it lead to duplicity or confusion?

2. Do regulatory frameworks enable enterprises to plan with a degree of certainty?

3. Do regulatory frameworks facilitate new market entries by removing disincentives and barriers to investment?

4. Do regulatory frameworks effectively address market failures that inhibit productive investment and reconcile private and public interests?

5. How difficult is regulatory change? Is there an intrinsic "resistance to change" from the government?

6. In relation to the regulatory, is a clear rationale outlined for the introduction of new laws and regulations impacting on business?

  • Is this vigorously tested with business, including with small businesses?
  • Is there a process for measuring the gender impacts of legislation and regulations?
  • With other stakeholders?

7. Are there effective oversight mechanisms for the regulatory framework that have the ability to adjust regulation?

8. Are regulatory frameworks reasonably stable and provide legal certainty, particularly with respect to property rights?

9. Do regulatory frameworks support innovation and promote competition?

  • Any examples?

10. Is the number of permits and approvals, along with other bureaucratic steps that businesses need to cover, together with the time it takes to obtain them, expensive and time consuming - for any area which impacts on business?

11. Is there support at the highest political level, and by the different institutions responsible, for preparing legislation and rules within the framework of a regulatory impact assessment regime?

12. Are regulatory frameworks consistently subject to review?

13. Are there any indications that the implementation of policies, laws, and regulations vary between women and men, or between male-owned enterprises and female-owned enterprises?

14. Are gender-specific needs adequately taken into account? For example, do men have better access to information than women?

ENTERPRISE START UP

15. How easy is it to register a business (time and costs)? Is it getting easier or harder?

16. Is the minimum capital required to start a business affordable (or not necessary at all)?

17. Are there anti-competitive regulations in product markets such as obstacles to businesses entering new markets?

TAXATION

18. Businesses from around the world have identified taxation as an area in which they would most like to see their governments improve. Is the taxation system of your country efficient? When were reforms last introduced?

19. Is the size of the tax burden on businesses a major constraint on investment and enterprise growth? Has the situation got better or worse?

20. Are the reporting requirements for enterprise taxation generally too complex, too frequent and/or highly bureaucratic?

21. Are taxes "profit-insensitive", i.e. taxes are paid regardless of whether the enterprise is making a profit?

22. How high is the tax wedge?(1)

23. If taxes are high and corresponding gains seem low, is there a big incentive for businesses to opt out of the formal sector?

24. Experience shows that economies that make paying taxes easy tend to focus on lower tax rates accompanied by wider tax bases, together with simpler and more efficient tax administration and one tax per tax base? Is this the experience in your country?

25. Are electronic filing and payment systems, which reduce the tax burden for firms, while lightening their administrative requirements, made available?

26. Besides the taxes paid, there are the costs of complying with tax laws. Worldwide, on average, a standard small- to medium-size business spends three working days a month complying with tax obligations. What is the average in your country?

BANKRUPTCY LAWS

27. In your view, are bankruptcy laws clear to even the smallest businesses?

28. Are they applied effectively in practice?

29. Are the costs related to bankruptcy laws reasonable?

30. Is the process overly complex and bureaucratic?

LABOUR LAW

31. Is the law clear on workers' entitlements?

  • Is it easy to understand?
  • Are laws well-promulgated?

32. Do you consider that current labour legislation is conducive to enterprise growth?

  • If not, which areas are most in need of reform?

33. Have there been any significant changes to statutory worker entitlements in the last five years that have impacted positively on firms' cost base?

34. Are there any exemptions to certain legal requirements based on firm size?

  • If so does this work effectively (i.e., it does not create 'growth traps' whereby the firm does not want to cross a certain size threshold?)

LABOUR ADMINISTRATION

35. An effective labour administration system provides for a stable business climate, as it is a key market-supporting institution that encourages direct national and foreign investment. Can you report any examples where investors have reported to you the importance of a strong labour administration system?

36. Are there institutional relationships between the labour administration and other public and private institutions working in related areas?

37. In today's world market, a poor record of compliance with international core labour standards can generate consumer concerns. Are there any examples in your country of enterprises that have generated adverse attention due to the lack of compliance?

INFORMAL ECONOMY

38. Approximately what percentage of enterprises operate in the "informal economy" in your country? 

39. Are informal enterprises disproportionately represented by women-owned enterprises?

40. What reasons would you attribute to enterprises working 'informally' (e.g. inadequate system of property rights; excessive bureaucracy, i.e. cost/time involved in registering a business or staying formal; lack of access to credit; absence of facilitative legal systems; lack of education/skills to function in the formal economy; limited access to market information; labour legislation; low productivity)?

41. Are there imaginative ways of applying the law? (For instance by enabling informal operators to bid for public sector contracts on condition that they initiate formalization).

COST OF COMPLIANCE

42. Are health and environmental standards workable and practical?

43. Are planning and zoning laws straightforward (including land use planning and zone, city planning policies)?

44. Is compliance with building regulations workable and practical?

45. Is the impact of compliance costs on SMEs explicitly examined?

46. Is the time involved by staff on compliance issues a major cost to enterprises? (E.g. tax-related compliance matters; need to employ out-of-house tax advisers/ agents/intermediaries).

OSH

47. Are those who create the occupational safety and health risks responsible for managing it?

48. Is OSH an area of effective tripartite cooperation?


(1) The difference between before-tax and after-tax wages. The tax wedge measures how much the government receives as a result of taxing the labour force.