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2013, October 2 - Red tape worse than crime for businesses

Oct. 2, 2013
(Information Extracted from the Business Observer dated October 2, 2013)

JAMAICAN businesses are more hampered by Government red tape than the yellow tape of crime and theft, according to a recently released survey within the Global Competitiveness Report.

Bureaucracy in Jamaica actually jumped from the fifth most problematic factor to the top slot when comparing year over year reports.

The latest report published in September by the Swiss based think tank -- World Economic Forum -- indicates that 18.6 per cent of respondents felt that inefficient government bureaucracy was the most problematic factor for doing business in Jamaica, followed by 15.7 per cent for crime and theft.

The respondents were asked to select the five most problematic factors for doing business in Jamaica and to rank them. The third most problematic factor was corruption at 11.8 per cent, followed by tax rates at 9.8 per cent, and access to financing at 7.5 per cent.

The reason for the rise in government discontent was not explained, but in February the Government announced $16.4 billion in new taxes ahead of an International Monetary Fund Agreement (IMF). The measures would affect GCT on calls, education tax, customs administration fees on imports, local stamp duty, transfer tax rates and lottery winnings, property taxes, tax on dividend and unregulated large companies.

The Global Competitiveness Report ranked the island at 94th amongst 148 countries, compared with 92nd amongst 144 a year earlier. The report listed the island's main challenges as debt, poor access to financing and education.

The report indicated that the island scored amongst the lowest in the world in terms of its debt to GDP at 146th in the world, cost of crime at 144th, access to venture capital at 130th, followed by primary school enrollment at 128th and access to loans at 128th.

The WEF was first conceived in January 1971 when a group of European business leaders met under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations, according to WEF's website.

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