Grenada’s Doing Business Ranking continues to nose-dive under the New National Party (NNP) administration.
According to the latest doing business ranking report released by the World Bank, Grenada’s ranking has plummeted to 126 in 2014, falling from 107 in 2013, a drop of almost 20 positions.
This represents the largest drop by any single country in the world in this year’s rankings.
The International Finance Corporation (IFC), which is the private sector arm of the World Bank, conducts an annual review of the relative ease or degree of difficulty in doing business in 189 countries globally. This ranking is normally used by investors to determine how investor friendly or attractive a country is and can therefore decide whether or not an investment is made in a given territory.
Under the last NDC administration (2008–2013), Grenada pursued an aggressive and comprehensive business reform agenda and, in 2010/2011, earned the distinction of being the first and only Caribbean nation ever to be ranked among the top ten reformers in the world in a single year, jumping up 25 positions in the ranking from 98 to 73. Much of this work was achieved through the collaborative effort of a technical team with representation from the key business support institutions in Grenada, led by the Office of Private Sector Development established by the then Minister of Finance, the Honourable V. Nazim Burke, now the Political Leader of our Party.
The reforms carried out by the NDC included the following:
- The setting up of a separate corporate affairs and Intellectual Property Registry in 2009, reducing the number of days it took to register a new business from 20 to 15 days;
- The launch of the electronic entry processing system at the customs, known as ASYCUDA, reducing the time to conduct business at the ports; and
- The passage of the investment promotions Act in 2009 and the development of Grenada’s first Investment promotions Strategy in 2012.
The current NNP administration is yet to display any real sense of commitment to doing business reform and has not done more than assigning the responsibility to Minister of Economic Affairs, the Hon. Oliver Joseph. The stakeholder structures which directed doing business reform under the NDC government have all been abandoned.
The report noted that no significant measures were taken by Grenada during the period under review (the past year) in an attempt to improve its position.
Meanwhile, other territories in the region have embraced doing business reform in a serious manner and have risen in the IFC ranking for their efforts. An example of this is Jamaica, which has streamlined the business start-up process, reduced the cost of access to energy and established new credit bureaus. Jamaica moved up from 89–58 in the current review. Other territories like Antigua and Barbuda (89), Dominica (97), St Lucia (100), and St Vincent and the Grenadines (103) are putting Grenada in the shade.
Of the 189 countries ranked by the World Bank, the only Caribbean country with a ranking lower than Grenada is Haiti, which is ranked number 180.
This disturbing trend demonstrates beyond doubt that the NNP administration has lost its way and simply has no idea as to what is required to create a favourable investment climate in Grenada.
In our view, simply pronouncing that “we have the investors lined up” is not going to attract genuine investors, create jobs and opportunities for the Grenadian people and put our country on the path to sustainable and inclusive economic growth.
We call on the NNP administration to get its house in order and embark upon a program of reforms and improved management practices that would restore Grenada to a respectable doing business ranking.