Serbia makes progress in World Bank’s Doing Business 2016 report

Serbia/December 2015

The recently-published World Bank’s 2016 Doing Business rankings reveal Serbia’s considerable improvement in the last year.

The country now ranks 59th on the overall Doing Business ranking list for 2016 which is a sizable 32 position jump from last year’s rank.

The main reasons for the higher ranking can be traced to the introduced reforms which have improved multiple measurement criteria. Dealing with construction permits has been made less costly and the land use fee has been abolished, therefore resulting in a 39 position jump in the category’s rankings, with a 2016 rank of 139. Similarly, the “paying taxes” ranking has registered improvement mostly due to the introduction of the electronic tax return submission, placing Serbia at the 143rd position.

No changes in the rankings have been noted in the “Trading across Borders”, “Protecting Minority Investors” and “Enforcing Contracts” indicators, with Serbia ranking 23rd, 81st and 73rd in the respective categories.

As some of the law amendments introduced during 2015 have not been encompassed in the current Doing Business report, further improvements can be expected in the DB reports in coming years. Specifically, these would relate to construction permits and the introduction of the unified one-stop-shop procedure and to the paying taxes indicator in light of the continuous tax payment improvements.

The reforms implemented seem to be providing results as Serbia is the country which has shown the greatest progress on the DB’s 2016 report compared to the other jurisdictions in its region.  It is expected that the improvement in rankings will provide additional incentive to potential foreign investors considering Serbia.

Ivana Blagojevic
Tax & Legal Advisor, Eurofast Global Belgrade
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