Russell Bedford International - World Bank Doing Business Survey: Egypt Down Five Places – But is This the Full Story?
The latest World Bank Doing Business survey shows Egypt down five places in rankings for both ease of doing business, and for the country’s tax environment. But is this the result of an excessive compliance burden, arising from an absence of online filing facilities?
The new report, Doing Business 2016: Measuring Regulatory Quality and Efficiency, shows Egypt ranked in 131st place in terms of the world’s best environments for ease of doing business (a drop of five places on last year), and ranked in 151st place in terms of tax regulation – down from 146 last year.
While the country’s total tax take, at 45 per cent, is somewhat in excess of the MENA regional average of 32.6 per cent, it is competitive against the OECD average of 41.2 per cent. Egypt’s profits tax rate too, at 16.3 per cent, is competitive against the 14.9 per cent average for OECD countries.
The country’s poor performance on tax can perhaps be traced to the excessive compliance burden to which businesses are subject. While entrepreneurs throughout the Middle East are spending an average 216.1 hours per year on their tax compliance, in Egypt this figure is 392 – a situation that may be directly attributable to the absence of online filing opportunities. This year’s World Bank report highlights the importance of electronic filing, citing more than 85 per cent of jurisdictions in Europe now allowing online submissions – in contrast to less than 30 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa.
Karim Dabbous, managing partner in Russell Bedford's Cairo firm, commented: “While the total tax burden in Egypt is somewhat higher than in other Middle East states, this is not seriously adrift of rates in developed economies. But an absence of online filing facilities is placing an excessive – and unnecessary – burden on entrepreneurs. A situation that has to be rectified if the country is ever to compete with other emerging economies.”
About Sherif Dabbous Assurance & Financial Consultancy
Founded in 1979, the Sherif Dabbous Assurance & Financial Consultancy firm has since grown to become one of the largest independent audit and financial consultants in Egypt. The firm is registered by the Capital Market Authority, the Central Bank, the Egyptian Society of Accountants and Auditors, the Egyptian Chartered Accountants Society, and the Egyptian Society for Taxation.
Sherif Dabbous Assurance & Financial Consultancy
T: +202 23951133
About Russell Bedford International
Established in 1983, Russell Bedford International is a global network of independent firms of accountants, auditors, tax advisers and business consultants. Ranked amongst the world’s leading accounting and audit networks, Russell Bedford is represented by some 600 partners, 5000 staff and 290 offices in more than 100 countries in Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific. Russell Bedford International is a member of the IFAC Forum of Firms and a member of EGIAN, the European Group of International Accounting Networks and Associations.
Russell Bedford International
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About the World Bank Doing Business project
The Doing Business project provides objective measures of business regulations and their enforcement across 189 economies and selected cities at the subnational and regional level.
The Doing Business project, launched in 2002, looks at domestic small and medium-size companies and measures the regulations applying to them through their life cycle.
By gathering and analysing comprehensive quantitative data to compare business regulation environments across economies and over time, Doing Business encourages economies to compete towards more efficient regulation; offers measurable benchmarks for reform; and serves as a resource for academics, journalists, private sector researchers and others interested in the business climate of each economy.
In addition, Doing Business offers detailed subnational reports, which exhaustively cover business regulation and reform in different cities and regions within a nation. These reports provide data on the ease of doing business, rank each location, and recommend reforms to improve performance in each of the indicator areas. Selected cities can compare their business regulations with other cities in the economy or region and with the 189 economies that Doing Business has ranked.
The first Doing Business report, published in 2003, covered 5 indicator sets and 133 economies. The new report covers 11 indicator sets and 189 economies. Most indicator sets refer to a case scenario in the largest business city of each economy, except for 11 economies that have a population of more than 100 million as of 2013 (Bangladesh, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Russian Federation and the United States) where Doing Business, also collected data for the second largest business city. The data for these 11 economies are a population-weighted average for the two largest business cities. The project has benefited from feedback from governments, academics, practitioners and reviewers. The initial goal remains: to provide an objective basis for understanding and improving the regulatory environment for business around the world.
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