Today, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued the following statement on World Bank President Jim Yong Kim's announcement that the Bank will continue publishing in its current form the Doing Business report. Last month, Royce, along with House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-NY), and Rep. Karen Bass (D-CA), sent a bipartisan letter to Kim, urging him to maintain the high quality, comparability, and individual country ranking of the Doing Business report.
Chairman Royce said: "World Bank President Kim showed real leadership in maintaining the integrity of this Doing Business report. This report is an important tool to help countries improve their business climate and foster job growth."
The text of the letter follows:
May 16, 2013
The Honorable Jim Yong Kim
The World Bank
1818 H Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20433
Dear Dr. Kim:
As strong supporters of the World Bank's mission to eradicate poverty, we write regarding three inter-related aspects of the Bank's work to reduce poverty by fostering growth: the Bank's annual Doing Business assessments, its Open Aid Partnerships, and its efforts to fight corruption. Private sector-led economic development complemented by increased transparency is essential to poverty reduction and the three programs cited above should be maintained as fully-robust Bank initiatives.
The Bank's Doing Business report is a unique and key tool for improving the public policy framework for private-sector growth and employment in the 185 target countries. The ten indicators used in the report reflect on regulations affecting local businesses throughout their life cycle: 1) start-up regulations; 2) dealing with construction permits; 3) accessing electricity; 4) registering property; 5) getting credit; 6) protecting investors; 7) paying taxes; 8) trading across borders; 9) enforcing contracts; and 10) resolving insolvency.
The Doing Business report highlights the effects of regulations on the private sector across countries. The Doing Business survey paints such an informative picture that the United States has included it in formal indicators for qualification for funding from its Millennium Challenge Corporation.
By focusing attention on the obstacles to growth and employment, the Doing Business report motivates countries to reduce or remove excessive red tape that stifles the private sector and nurtures corruption. The report spurs reform through information rather than through funding, which is even more critical during these resource constrained times.
It is our understanding that officials of the Bank are currently reviewing the Doing Business survey methodology. We encourage you to maintain the high quality, credibility, comparability, individual country rankings, and transparency of the Doing Business report.
Second, we support the Bank's Open Aid Partnership, which compiles information about the size, type and location of development projects. This compilation is useful in improving transparency, targeting and coordination of assistance programs among a variety of development agencies and programs. It also improves monitoring of the impact of development programs and fosters accountability. We are encouraging the U.S. Agency for International Development to commit to joining the partnership.
Finally, we urge you to maintain the Bank's focus on fighting corruption. The development banks set an example across the world and the efforts made to ensure that World Bank projects are free from corruption, fraud, and bribery are critical.
EDWARD R. ROYCE GREGORY W. MEEKS
Chairman Member of Congress
Committee on Foreign Affairs
JEB HENSARLING KAREN BASS
Chairman Member of Congress
Committee on Financial Services
cc: The Honorable Jacob J. Lew, Secretary, U.S. Department of the Treasury
The Honorable Rajiv Shah, Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development
The Honorable Daniel W. Yohannes, Chief Executive Officer, Millennium Challenge