Declining rankings a concern

Barbados’ declining rankings in two international business indices “is a serious problem”.

The island has dropped four places in the Doing Business 2013 ratings issued by the World Bank Group and is two slots lower in the World Economic Form’s Global Competitiveness Index 2012-2013, statistics that are of concern to Chairman of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation Peter Boos.

“Barbados ranking at 88 (in Doing Business 2013) is a serious problem. Our focus needs to be getting in the top 20,” Boos said. “In the WEF’s Global Competitiveness Index for 2012-13 Barbados is 44, down two slots from the prior year. Again we must be in the Top 20.”

The Chairman Emeritus of Ernst & Young Caribbean believes such rankings were important because “focussing and measuring our competitiveness is a great way to think about what we need to do now”. In its most recent index the WEF said “the continued deterioration of the macroeconomic framework has led Barbados to fall two notches in the rankings, to 44 place”.

“With one of the lowest national savings rates (136) and one of the highest government debt levels (139), the macroeconomic conditions in the country (134) are strangling the access of businesses to financing through local equity markets (92nd), loans (79), or venture capital (94),” the organisation stated.

“As a result, the business community continues to face important challenges in engaging in new investment projects. Notwithstanding these serious weaknesses, which sharply affect economic activity, the country still benefits from well-functioning institutions (24) and good infrastructure (22).

“Moreover, a very high quality educational system (11), a high use of ICT (32), and a fairly sophisticated business community (36) help foster innovation ina service-oriented economy despite the low research and development investment (72) and technological innovation capacity (91),” it added.

In the case of the World Bank Doing Business publication, Barbados’ 88 placement out of 185 economies saw it declining in six out of 10 categories.

The island’s rankings in this index decreased in the areas of starting a business (11 per cent), paying taxes (seven per cent), getting credit (three per cent), protecting investors (two per cent), getting electricity (one per cent), and enforcing contracts (one per cent).

There were increases for registering property (seven per cent) dealing with construction permits (one per cent), trading across borders (one per cent) and resolving insolvency (one per cent). (SC)

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