Russia Leads BRICS at Improving Business Rules, World Bank Says

Russia made the most progress among the biggest emerging economies in implementing policies to improve its business environment, according to an annual World Bank study.

Russia ranked 92th of 189 countries, between Barbados and Serbia, in the Washington-based lender’s 2014 Doing Business Report. Its ranking improved from 112th in last year’s report, the biggest gain among the BRICS nations, which include Brazil, China, India and South Africa.

President Vladimir Putin, who returned to the Kremlin for the third term last year, is facing the slowest economic expansion since 2009. As part of a long-term growth plan unveiled hours after his May 2012 inauguration, Putin ordered the government to boost Russia’s standing in the ranking to 20th by 2018, as well as increase labor productivity and add 25 million high-quality jobs.

“Improving the investment climate is a top policy priority for the Russian authorities,” Augusto Lopez-Claros, director of Global Indicators and Analysis at World Bank, said in a statement accompanying the report. “The local entrepreneurs are seeing the results.”

The world’s biggest energy exporter showed the most improvement globally in easing access to electricity, the World Bank said. Russia reduced the time needed to get a new connection to the power grid by more than 40 percent and cut the cost of doing so by almost 80 percent, according to the World Bank’s statement.

Russia also made it easier to deal with construction permits, eliminating some requirements for project approval and reducing the time to register a new building, according to the statement.

The study, published together with the International Finance Corp., tracked indicators such as the time it takes to start a business, submit tax returns and export or import goods, measured from June 2012 to June 2013.

To contact the reporter on this story: Olga Tanas in Moscow at otanas@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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