In this land of miracles Doing Business index is not improving, as anticipated by the people of the country, as per the World Bank rankings for 2016. This is despite the so called ‘yahapalanaya’ (Sinhala translation for good governance) being brought back to government. The defenders (not the four wheel type) will say to “give time” and the others will say “how much more”
In a positive move by the World Bank, the Doing Business 2016 introduces a new index to measure the quality of the land administration. Land and property are among households’ and business’ most important assets anywhere in the world. By expanding its focus on regulatory quality, the Registering Property indicator opens a new area for reforms.
Sri Lankan rank in enforcing contracts, registering property and paying taxes among the 189 countries is 161,153 and 158 respectively. To think that a country like Rwanda can be ranked 12th globally for registering property and Sri Lanka at 153rd position speaks volumes of our capabilities at the land registry and the quality of land administration in the country. The new data on the quality of land administration provides information about good practices for policy makers, but which policy maker will take action? The so called good governance does not identify taking responsibility as part of its actions. However, I’m sure many reports will be prepared on this subject for NON-implementation!
Recording the legitimate owner of property is a key part of the institutional infrastructure of any economy. Clear assignment of rights to property is required to assure individuals they will be able to enjoy the fruits of any improvements they make to the land without fear of ex- propriation by others or the state. This is a precondition for land management and new investments by businesses. One of the reforms should focus on taking action against lawyers who prepare false documents and also those who purposely defend wrongdoers knowing that the documents are falsified. The judiciary is probably the other culprit for entertaining false claims and deferring the decision to many years, thereby delaying business activity. Further, if action is not taken with regard to the judiciary and lawyers, our ranking on Enforcing Contracts will go up to 189th position and thereafter it’ll be static and everyone will be happy as it cannot slip any further! All this is will be supported by the scores of lawyers in parliament. Is that called a ‘miracle’?
Let me quote Thomas Jefferson, the American president’s view of lawyers in the Congress at that time- “If the present Congress errs in too much talking, how can it be otherwise in a body to which the people send one hundred and fifty lawyers, whose trade it is to question everything, yield nothing, and talk by the hour?”
I shall repeat two quotes from my previous blog post, to confirm this has nothing to do with politics and defend why I thought of writing the above:
↩️ In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends”-Martin Luther King Jr
↩️ It’s a shame when the things that are on your mind and in your heart never reach your lips.