Government’s efforts to reduce the time it takes to do business is paying off, Trade Minster Vasant Bharath said yesterday. He said that was the reason for T&T’s improvement on the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2014. “We are now at position 66, which means we have jumped three places,” he told the T&T Guardian.
“There are different factors responsible for this, like the work we have been doing for the time to start a new business, where we have improved the time frame from 43 days to three days. The work we have done with Customs and Excise with regard to merging the Asycuda system with Single Electronic Window (SEW),” he said.
Bharath, who was at the opening day of the Export TT Export Development Forum 2013 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, Port-of-Spain, when he commented on the report which was released by the World Bank on Monday. “There are also other areas we are dealing with like insolvency, bankruptcy, credit facilities and so on which have not impacted on the rating because they were being done and approached after the scores were done for the rating.
A lot of the work was done after April, as the cut off point was April, so we expect it to be reflected in next year’s report,” the minister said. He said his ministry is also working on improving the ease of getting construction permits. “According to the World Bank this takes 297 days and we are ranked 101st out of 135 countries so we are working with the World Bank to reduce the time frame down from 297 days to six weeks so that will have a major impact on ease of doing business,” he said.
The World Bank said in the Caribbean, T&T, along with Jamaica (94) and the Bahamas (84), took steps to improve their business regulatory environment over the past year. The report analyses regulations that apply to an economy’s businesses during their life cycle, including start-up and operations, trading across borders, paying taxes, and resolving insolvency. The aggregate ease of doing business rankings are based on ten indicators and covers 189 economies.
Bharath said T&T’s upward movement on the World Bank rankings should encourage more investors. “The ease of doing business is not just a figure or a ranking, what it does is that we are sending a signal to international companies that we are doing the right thing in T&T. The lower the rank means it is easy to do business in T&T.
“International investors looking on and may not have had the opportunity to come to T&T and explore for themselves. What they do is look at indicators and to see the countries that are progressing,” he said.