Guyana continues to slide in doing business survey

The ease of doing business in Guyana continues to slide with the latest report ranking this country at 115 out of 189 countries, one place down from its 114 rank last year.

The annual World Bank Group report, which was published last evening, ranks countries on the ease of doing business based on ten topics/areas.

Guyana’s business climate has been worsening over the past few years. The Guyana Manufactur-ing and Services Associa-tion (GMSA) which recently celebrated its 50th anniversary has called for the Guyana Office for Investment (Go-Invest) to be overhauled. It said the agency, which is supposed to be a one stop shop for investors was plagued by sloth and excessive bureaucracy.

In the Doing Business 2010 report, Guyana ranked 101. The next year, its rank was 113 followed by 114 for the next two years.

According to the report, ‘Doing Business 2014: Understanding Regulations for Small and Medium-Size Enterprises’, Guyana is ranked at 94 on the topic starting a business. There are eight procedures that must be undertaken that take some 20 days to complete. Another eight procedures are needed to get a construction permit and these take 195 days. To get electricity for one’s business also involves eight procedures and some 109 days.

The report says registering property takes some 75 days and there are six procedures involved. Cross border trade involves six documents and time to export is some 19 days, while time to import is 22 days and involves seven documents.

In order to enforce a contract, the report says, a record 36 procedures are involved and the time period is 581 days. The only area which has been reformed and where doing business is easier is in the paying of taxes. Though with 35 payments per year and a tax rate of 32.5% of profit this area is still ranked fairly high at 110.

The report highlights three Caribbean econo-mies—the Bahamas, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago—as having taken steps to improve their business regulatory environment over the past year. Jamaica, it says, led the way in the Caribbean by adopting new legislation for private credit bureaus, reducing the corporate income tax rate, and streamlining procedures for starting a new business.

The Bahamas reduced the cost of transferring property and improved its insolvency process.

Trinidad and Tobago is featured by the report in a case study highlighting its efforts to lower the cost of connecting to the power supply. The country is also recognised for simplifying procedures for registering a new business, the report says.

A press release accompanying the report quotes Director, Global Indicators and Analysis, World Bank Group Augusto Lopez-Claros as saying, “It is encouraging to see countries in the Caribbean engaged in reforms aimed at reducing burdensome regulations and building stronger legal institutions. Even after these achievements, however, more can be done to improve the quality of the rules underpinning the activities of the private sector, to ensure continued convergence toward the better practices seen elsewhere in the world.”

Meanwhile, the report’s global annual ranking on the ease of doing business shows that Singapore has the most business-friendly regulations. Joining it on the list of the top 10 in the ranking are Hong Kong SAR, China; New Zealand; the United States; Den-mark; Malaysia; the Republic of Korea; Georgia; Norway; and the United Kingdom.

The most improved countries are Ukraine, Rwanda, the Russian Federation, the Philip-pines, Kosovo, Djibouti, Côte d’Ivoire, Burundi, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Guate-mala.

The Doing Business report series is compiled jointly by the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation. This year’s report marks the 11th edition and covers 189 economies, the press release noted.

The World Bank Group is one of the world’s largest sources of funding and knowledge for developing countries. It comprises five closely associated institutions: the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) and the International Development Association (IDA), which together form the World Bank; the International Finance Corporation (IFC); the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA); and the Inter-national Centre for Settle-ment of Investment Dis-putes (ICSID). Each institution plays a distinct role in the mission to fight poverty and improve living standards for people in the developing world.

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