After plummeting in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Report last year Barbados has improved slightly.
In the 2018 report, which was released this week, Barbados received a ranking of 129 out of 190 economies. This is an improvement over the 132nd position in 2017. Barbados was ranked 117 in 2016.
This year, the country received the same score of 56.78.
Barbados is ranked better than St Vincent and the Grenadines (130); St Kitts Nevis (140); Grenada (147); Suriname (165) and Haiti (182).
However, Jamaica continued to hold the number one spot in the Caribbean, ranked at 75th. They were followed by St Lucia (93); Dominica (103); Trinidad and Tobago (105); Antigua and Barbuda (112) and The Bahamas (118).
Of the 190 economies surveyed the worst performing was Somalia. The top three were New Zealand, Singapore and Denmark.
The World Bank report said economies in Latin America and the Caribbean carried out some 25 reforms during the past year to improve the ease of doing business for domestic small and medium enterprises.
The reforms were carried out in 18 of the region’s 32 economies. Mexico remains the region’s top-ranked economy, in 54th place this year. Brazil led the reform agenda, with four reforms, a record in a single year for the country. As a result, Brazil advanced to a global rank of 109.
In the Caribbean, the Bahamas improved access to credit by introducing regulations governing the licensing, functioning, and regulation of credit bureaus in the country. Paying Taxes was also made easier in the Bahamas with an online system for filing and paying value added tax.
Of the 25 reforms carried out in the region during the past year, seven were in the area of Getting Credit. Besides Brazil and the Bahamas, other economies that improved credit information systems were Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Haiti, and Jamaica.
Programme Manager of the Doing Business Unit, Santiago Croci Downes, said continued and sustained progress was key to improving the domestic business climate and enabling private enterprise.
“It is encouraging to see the steady implementation of reforms in Latin America and the Caribbean, although many economies could benefit from an acceleration in the pace of the reform agenda,” he said.
The biggest challenges for the region are in the areas of Paying Taxes, Registering Property and Protecting Minority Investors.
Croci Downes said despite the challenges that continued, Paying Taxes has also been an area of many reforms in the region.
The time needed for a company to prepare, file and pay taxes remains high at an average of 330 hours, which is more than double the 159-hour in OECD high-income economies.
The report cited Barbados as an example of the three-quarters of the 190 economies that had an electricity code or comprehensive legislative text that covered some or all of the areas for clear regulation for electricity.
A break down showed that Barbados was ranked at 101 for starting a business with eight procedures and 15 days.
For dealing with construction permits Barbados was ranked 154 with the report stating that it took about nine procedures and 442 days.
When it came to getting electricity, the country was ranked at 114, with the report stating that it required eight procedures and the process took on average 88 days.
Registering a property, it said, took six procedures and 105 days. In this category Barbados was ranked at 129.
Barbados was ranked 93rd when it came to paying taxes and 168 when it came to the protection of minority investors.
In relation to getting credit, the report said Barbados ranked 144th; it was ranked 132nd for trading across borders; 170th for enforcing contracts and its best rank was at 34th for resolving insolvency.