The World Bank suspended the publication of its flagship Doing Business report in order to look into alleged irregularities in data submitted by some countries.
“A number of irregularities have been reported regarding changes to the data in the Doing Business 2018 and Doing Business 2020 reports, published in October 2017 and 2019. The changes in the data were inconsistent with the Doing Business methodology,” the Washington-based multilateral lender said in a statement.
The World Bank said the publication of the Doing Business report will be “paused” amid the “systematic review and assessment” on the data changes that occurred after the last five reports were posted.
The bank also tasked its independent internal audit unit to conduct a review of the data collection and review processes used for the report, as well as on the controls that were meant to ensure the integrity of data.
“We will act based on the findings and will retrospectively correct the data of countries that were most affected by the irregularities,” the World Bank said.
The World Bank’s board of executive directors and authorities of countries most affected by the alleged data irregularities have already been informed, it added.
Among the countries most affected by the review and assessment were Azerbaijan, China, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates, it said.
Published since 2003, the World Bank report ranks 190 countries based on the ease of doing business by comparing business regulations, permits processes, investment laws, trading regulations, property rights, among others.
It assured that maintaining the “integrity and impartiality” of its data and analysis remain “paramount.”
“Doing Business indicators and methodology are designed with no single country in mind, but rather to help to improve the overall business climate,” the World Bank said.
In the latest Doing Business 2020 report last year, the Philippines rose to 95th place from 124th in 2018, mainly due to the regulatory reforms it adopted recently.
Republic Act No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business Act was signed into law in 2018 to cut red tape and fast-track the delivery of public services. — Beatrice M. Laforga