Another nose-dive in ease of doing business

The Keith Mitchell Administration continues to struggle in grappling with the “Ease of doing business” in the country.

The ranking, as released by the World Bank last week, shows that Grenada now stands at 138, having experienced a drop from last year’s position of 135.

The island is four points ahead of Bolivia, which ranks 149, Suriname (158), Haiti (181), and Venezuela 187 in the Latin America and Caribbean region.

Barbados tops the region with a ranking of 117, followed by Brazil on 123, Guyana (124), Nicaragua (127), the Bahamas on 121, followed by St. Vincent and the Grenadines (125), and St. Kitts/Nevis with a ranking of 134.

Just before the Tillman Thomas Government was removed from Office in 2013, Grenada was ranked at 107 but then dropped to 125 in 2014 under the New National Party (NNP) administration of Prime Minister Mitchell.

This represented a drop of 18 positions, the largest decline by a single country in the world.

During the 2008-13 period under the then government of Prime Minister Thomas, Grenada pursued an aggressive and comprehensive business reform agenda, and between 2010 and 2011 it became the first and only Caribbean nation to be ranked among the top ten reformed countries in the world in a single year by moving up the scale by 25 places from 98 to 73.

Last year, the NNP government announced that Economic Development Minister Oliver Joseph will lead the charge to have Grenada return to a good standing in the Ease of Doing Business index of the World Bank.

Speaking at a Government Press Conference, Minister Joseph sought to explain the reason for the failure of his regime to tackle the problem and improve the island’s ranking.

“Grenada ranking dropped because there are several legislations that are needed to pass in parliament,” he said.

“So the Cabinet has appointed me as the Chairman of a committee to deal with these issues, or look at all the indicators and take the necessary action to ensure that Grenada ranking improves,” he added.

The Economic Development Minister said the ease of doing business is just one of ten indicators investors will view – the procedure for starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, paying taxes, protecting minority investors, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

A high ease of doing business ranking means the regulatory environment is more conducive to the starting and operation of a local firm.

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