Wed | Sep 19, 2018

Briefing | Jamaica’s rank falls in World Doing Business Report

Published:Wednesday | November 8, 2017 | 12:00 AM

Which Caribbean or Latin American country is the best to do business?

Jamaica's rank has fallen consecutively over the last two years from 65th in 2016 to 67th in 2017, and now to a further 70th position in 2018 on the World Bank's World Doing Business Report. The country's index value has also fallen, along with its ranking from 67.54 in 2017 to 67.27 in 2018. Jamaica needs to become more consistent on these indicators to illustrate to the rest of the world that the 'doing business' climate is resilient.

How easy is it to start a business?

Jamaica has consistently scored high on the index for ease of starting a business. Jamaica's rank improved considerably from 12th in 2017 to fifth in 2018, although the country ranked sixth in 2016. Jamaica's rank continues to be ahead of the average for the Caribbean and Latin American countries.

In Jamaica, it requires two procedures and three days to start a business, improving from 10 days in 2017, while it requires 8.4 procedures and more than 31 days to start a business on average in the Caribbean and Latin America.

It takes 4.9 procedures and 8.5 days to start a business in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and development (OECD) countries on average. It cost 4.8 per cent of per capita GDP to start a business in Jamaica, compared to 37.5 per cent in Latin America and 3.1 per cent in the OECD. The United Kingdom is the standard-bearer in this regard, where it cost 0.00 per cent of GDP per capita to start a business.

What about dealing with construction permits?

As it relates to dealing with construction permits, Jamaica moved down considerably from 75th in 2017 to 98th in 2018. Up from 17 last year, it now requires 19 procedures in Jamaica to deal with construction permits, while it requires 15.7 procedures across the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America. The time taken in Jamaica has worsened; increasing from 130 days to 141.5 days, but is better than the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America that requires 191.8 days. It requires 154.6 days to deal with construction permits in the OECD countries.

What about access to electricity?

Jamaica's rank has improved considerably as it relates to getting electricity, improving 10 places from 101 in 2017 to 91 in 2018. It requires seven procedures and 95 days in Jamaica, relative to just 5.5 procedures and 66 days on average in the other Caribbean and Latin American countries. These values have not changed from last year. It requires 4.7 procedures in 79.1 days to get electricity in the OECD countries.

How easy is it to register property and get credit?

Jamaica has improved and is now ranked 128th in 2017, compared to 223rd in 2017. It takes eight procedures and 18 days to register property in Jamaica relative to 7.2 procedures and 63.3 days in the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America.

It requires 4.6 procedures in 22.3 days in the OECD. Jamaica has fallen a further four places to 20th as it relates to getting credit, after falling two places from 14th to 16th in terms of getting credit from 2016 to 2017.

Is it easier to pay taxes?

Jamaica is now ranked 122nd as it relates to paying taxes, up from 116 in 2017. Although maintaining the same amount of procedures and time as last year, it still requires 11 payment procedures that can be done in 268 hours, with a total tax rate on profits of 33.1 per cent relative to 28 payments, taking 332.2 hours and a total tax rate 46.6 per cent on profits in the Caribbean and Latin America.

How well does Jamaica trade across borders?

Jamaica also improved in relation to trading across borders. It requires 58 border-control hours and cost US$876 to export goods from Jamaica, compared to 62.5 border control hours and US$526.5 from the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America. It requires 80 border-control hours and costs US$906 to import goods to Jamaica, compared to 64.4 boarder control hours and US$684 to import good to the other Caribbean and Latin America countries.

What about contracts?

Jamaica has got worse as it relates to enforcing contracts, falling to a further 122 places after falling three places from 114 to 117 from 2016 to 2017. It requires 550 days and cost approximately 50.2 per cent of the total claim, compared to 767.1 days and a cost of 31.4 per cent of the claim in the other Caribbean and Latin American countries.

- Dr Andre Haughton is a lecturer in the Department of Economics on the Mona campus of the University of the West Indies. Follow him on Twitter @DrAndreHaughton; or email