BUSINESS

Doing business gets even harder in Greece

DIMITRA MANIFAVA

TAGS: Economy, Business

Greece’s business environment is continuing to lose ground, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2018 report showed on Tuesday.

Reforms implemented in the last few years aimed at reducing bureaucracy, such as the one-stop shop service for starting a business and the simplification of procedures for exports, are not viewed as having gone far enough in terms of making entrepreneurship easier in this country, while companies active in Greece have to concede 51.7 percent of their earnings in taxes and social security contributions. The average rate among developed countries stands at 40.1 percent.

The report showed Greece as having slipped to 67th place among 190 countries around the world, from 61st place in last year’s report. This is the third year in a row that Greece has lost ground.

Of the 11 criteria the report uses to assess the context of entrepreneurship in a country, Greece’s position has deteriorated in six, two of which are related to increased operating costs: Greece ranks 65th (from 64th last year) in terms of taxes, and slumped from 52nd to 76th spot as far as getting electricity is concerned: For a company to be connected to the grid in Greece it takes seven procedures (against an average of 4.7 among developed countries), 55 days (compared to an average of 79.1 days) and costs 70.1 percent of the per capita income (against 63 percent on average among developed economies).

Greece also saw a significant drop in the criterion of credit, from 82nd to 90th place; this criterion focuses more on the sufficiency of protection for creditors and the detailed information on the creditworthiness of enterprises. Greece also scores just three points on a 0-to-12 scale in the efficiency of bankruptcy laws for the protection of creditors.

Interestingly, although the creation of the Single Social Security Entity (EFKA) was mainly associated in Greece with the hike in contributions – particularly for freelance professionals – the Doing Business 2018 report views it as beating bureaucracy, taking Greece from 56th to 37th spot this year as regards ease of starting a business.

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