This independent blog collects news about projects or achievements in regulatory reform / better regulation. It is edited by Charles H. Montin. All opinions expressed are given on a personal basis.
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26 August 2012

New advisory body to cut red tape (India)

  Last Friday, the government of India set up a 21-member panel, including representatives from the government and regulatory authorities as well as respected industry leaders to suggest ways for reforming regulatory environment for doing business in India. The panel is being set up at a time when concerns are being raised by the industry and investors, from India and abroad, about perception of policy paralysis and lack of required economic reforms.
The World Bank and International Finance Corporation 2012 report on the ease of doing business ranks India a lowly 132 out of 183 countries, well below the other BRICS and most of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries. The committee, headed by the former Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman , would prepare a detailed report within six months and submit the same to the government, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) said in a press release. "There is a need to conduct an in-depth study into the entire gamut of regulatory framework and come out with a detailed roadmap for improving the climate of business in India in a time bound manner," the release said. The panel would comprise representatives from Sebi, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Ministries of Corporate Affairs, Finance, Power, Petroleum, Highways, Commerce and Industry and Urban Development. Easing of business environment mandates extensive examination of regulations in different areas such as financial and governance reforms and liberalised policy framework, MCA said. For more, see article by Economic Times of India.

23 August 2012

Chinese Taipei puts smart regulation on the curriculum

For the second year running, Chinese Taipei (known more commonly as Taiwan) has organised a 5 day course on regulatory reform, as part of the 27th Academy of International Economic Affairs, a training programme offered to some 30 younger government officials, including 8 from friendly countries in Eastern Europe and Latin America.
Organised as a series of sessions equally distributed between presentations, structured discussions/brainstormings and group breakouts, the 30 hours gave enough time to cover the whole spectrum of skills necessary for government officials to produce clear and relevant policy and regulation, geared to sustaining and boosting the quality of the business regulatory environment and hence the competitiveness of their country: policy making, including quantitative techniques such as RIA, and legislative drafting. Best practices from around the world were called to illustrate the most relevant, up-to-date and effective skills that need to be mastered by officials.
This morning, the course members were smiling: the looming typhoon had decided to go South, leaving them the prospect of a restful and well deserved weekend before they tackle the next subject on the heavy Academy curriculum.

22 August 2012

"Superpowers" for red tape agency (Brazil)

  According to a Reuters despatch, the Brazilian government has just set up a new state-run company that will have "superpowers" to cut through red tape across multiple ministries and government agencies. While technically part of the transport ministry, the Planning and Logistics Company will in practice be more powerful – and its creation represents a clear attempt by the government to circumvent troubled or inefficient areas of the government. According to Reuters," the company will be headed by a relatively apolitical public servant who has been working in Brazil's transport sector since the 1970s and is one of the president's (Dilma Roussef) most trusted aides. He also has good ties in Brazil's business community, which he says was consulted extensively for months to help design the new plan."
The despatch also gives details about the modernisation of PPP usage in Brazil.

21 August 2012

Conference on Inspection Reform (London, 21-23 November)

BR experts worldwide have been receiving an invitation to a (free) conference in London on 21-23 November on Inspection Reform, run by the UK government's Better Regulation Delivery Office (BRDO) with the support of IFC. A leaflet from BRDO " Inspection Reform: the change that matters" provides more background. From the invitation:
"The UK government's "Better Regulation" movement is now taking a very serious interest in this aspect of regulatory reform, as illustrated by creating BRDO at a senior level in the Business Ministry. BRDO (and LBRO as its predecessor) has been working along with IFC on inspection reform projects in the Former Soviet Union and East Africa and both are now trying to bring together the inspection reform community for three days in London. The first day is traditional conference style, with keynote speakers, but the second day is intended to gather case studies and experience from many countries. The third day provides a study tour of some UK institutions, so that international delegations can see this trip as a serious investment in learning. It is more an enhanced study tour than a one day conference." We are invited to suggest case studies.

20 August 2012

Austalian government simplifies licenses

The Australian governement announced last week plans to streamline a number of licensing schemes for plumbing and gas fitting, property, refrigeration and air-conditioning occupational licensing thereby providing an estimated annual benefit of more than $86 million to the national economy and boosting labour mobility.
The minister in charge released Consultation Regulation Impact Statements for each of the occupational areas saying the proposal offered benefits to licence holders and delivers on a key plank of the Council of Australian Governments' commitment to regulatory reform.
The introduction of one set of national licences for key occupations will make it easier for businesses and individuals to operate across state and territory borders and improve business productivity. A central licensing body will administer one set of requirements for each of the licensed occupations.

02 August 2012

Less Red Tape, More Fun (Philippines)

A new definition of "fun." A recent official press release of the Philippines Government has announced that the Asian Development Bank (ADB), under its Strengthening Institutions for an Improved Investment Climate program, is supporting several ministries in a major crackdown on red tape, with a view to improving the economy's Doing Business ranking and competitiveness.
In the 2012 World Bank Global Survey, the Philippines ranked 136th out of 183 countries in terms of ease in doing business. It also ranked 158th in starting a business, 126th in getting credit; 113th in protecting investors, 136th in paying taxes and 51st in trading across the borders.
The Department of Tourism (DoT) is collaborating with the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) and the Department of Finance (DOF) in a program to minimize bureaucracy, which includes the development and implementation of a national strategy for regulatory impact assessment (RIA) in government. The program complements the government's 2006 move in creating the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) which is tasked to develop strategies and instill a culture of excellence through public-private sector collaboration.
Under the program, the three ministries will pilot-test the Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA). This includes tours, seminars, and consultations to arrive at the most optimal regulation.
"Fun means easy, convenient, and hassle-free, which should be evident across the tourism value chain," Tourism Secretary Ramon Jimenez said in a statement.
Jimenez said the initiative is necessary if the tourism sector is to realize its full potential and regulations must be in line with the expectations and demands of all tourism stakeholders.
"In keeping with our campaign, we would like to take 'fun' to a deeper level to mean good governance and competitive offerings that practice good business and proper management," Jimenez said.
For more, see Manila Bulletin article of yesterday.

01 August 2012

Australian Company Directors call for deregulation

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (a business lobby) has just released a 76-page ''working paper'', titled Business Deregulation: A call to action, along with a ''discussion document'', media release and a request for 'stakeholders' to lodge a submission on the topic.
One of the questions asked in the discussion document is: ''Are you aware of Australian regulations which are redundant, poorly designed or excessive?''
The AICD's initiative comes after the Productivity Commission released a full report last December on Identifying and Evaluating Regulation Reforms and published numerous reports over the past five years on reducing the burden of unnecessary legislation.

House passes RR bill

On 26 July, the House of Representatives passed a comprehensive regulatory reform bill to cut red tape and make the federal rulemaking process more friendly to job creators. The measure included several provisions previously passed by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. "The Obama Administration has issued some 106 rules in its first three years that collectively will cost taxpayers more than $46 billion annually in compliance and lost productivity. This is four times the number of major regulations and five times the cost of rules issued in the prior administration's first three years," Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Issa said. "In more than 30 hearings, examinations and public forums, our Committee has heard loud and clear from job creators across the country who tell us that red tape imposed by the federal government chokes economic expansion and hurts job creation. Nonpartisan research surveys report that the American public feels the same way—with an overwhelming majority saying federal regulations are a major reason why the economy is struggling. This bill helps unwind much of this unnecessary red tape and frees entrepreneurs and business owners to do what they do best: create jobs and opportunity," Issa added.
For more and how this bill relates to the Administration regulatory policy, see the full press release.

Link between BR and economic performance (NZ)

A press release published today by the New Zealand Government provides fresh evidence that well managed regulatory systems can bring improvements in the overall economic performance of a country. It reports the main findings of a preliminary assessment of national regulations, incoporated in an official publication: Best Practice Regulation Model: Principles and Assessments. According to the finance minister, "this new model ... considers whether each regime gives appropriate weighting to factors that can help improve economic performance – competition, innovation, exports, compliance costs and trade and investment openness" and can suggest areas for further simplification.