The National Democratic Congress (NDC) is calling for a greater effort on the part of the ruling New National Party (NNP) administration to reverse the country’s continued downward spiral in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Ranking.
Attorney-at-law, Claudette Joseph, the Caretaker Candidate for Congress for the Town of St. George addressed the issue in the wake of Grenada’s ranking falling to 142 among 190 countries in the world in the latest report.
The island fell five places from its 138 ranking in 2016, putting Grenada as having the second lowest ranking in the Caribbean ahead only of Haiti at 181.
Countries are ranked on their ease of doing business with a high ease of doing business ranking meaning that the regulatory environment is more conducive to starting and operating a local business.
According to Joseph, the five-spot downgrade can negatively impact the investment climate in Grenada.
“What we would like to see done is a conservative effort by the powers-that-be to improve our regulatory and administrative framework so that we can see an upward trend in that area”, she said.
Joseph recalled that during the NDC reign in office from 2008-2013 the ranking was significantly improved due to a number of measures implemented including the setting up of an “Office of Private Sector Development to manage the process of doing business reform.
She said that if Congress is returned to power in the upcoming general election the party will reintroduce the system.
“So, we were in the business of reforming how we do business in Grenada,” she said, pointing out that the office will be responsible “for overseeing the creation of an investment development strategy and reform of the GIDC (Grenada Industrial Development Corporation) and facilitation of private sector public sector partnerships”.
“…These are the things the NDC would do,” she told reporters.
Joseph expressed fears that due to the continuous downturn in Grenada’s ranking, “there would be a correspondent erosion of investor confidence in our country so we cannot continue to speak of attracting new substantial and sustainable investors when we are not performing well on the doing business index.”
“We cannot continue to speak of being investor friendly and having the right climate for doing business and then the statistics show that we are performing badly. That suggests that we just pay lip service and not in fact doing what we need to do”, she said.
The Caribbean country with the highest business ranking is Jamaica at 70, followed by St. Lucia (91), Dominica (98), Trinidad and Tobago (102), Antigua (107), Belize (121), Guyana (126), St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) at 129, Barbados (132) and St. Kitts at 134.