Stand to the right

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Newcomers to Washington DC rapidly learn that to stand on the left-hand side of the metro escalator at rush-hour is to risk being run down by an impatient, backpack-wielding local. At an event today in Bishkek to celebrate the Krygyz Republic's appearance at #3 on the Doing Business 2009 list of top reformers, Minister of Economic Development and Trade, Mr Akylbek Japarov, compared reform to an escalator ride where you can choose to ride or to climb. Kyrgyz reformers want to climb. Less active reformers may want to stand to the right.


The Kyrgyz Republic jumped 31 places to the #68 spot in Doing Business this year. A major contributor to this advance was a substantial reform of the construction permitting process - cutting some unneeded procedures, and combining others (notably design, construction and occupancy permits) in a one-stop shop. In the process, the time to complete construction permitting was cut by almost six months, and the cost of the process almost halved. In a region where construction permitting is often highly complex and costly, the Kyrgyz reform is likely to attract a lot of interest. It may be time to construct new hotel rooms for a flood of "regulatory tourists"?

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