By Dimitra Manifava
Greece appears to be finally benefiting from the painful reforms it has made over the last few months, as a World Bank report on Tuesday showed it is among the 20 countries in the world to have introduced the most reforms in order to facilitate entrepreneurship from June 2011 through May 2012.
The Doing Business 2013 report showed Greece rising 11 places in the world chart of 185 countries. It is now ranked 78th, compared to 89th last year, showing that it still has a long way to go before being deemed business-friendly. However, it has actually dropped six places, from 140th to 146th, in the category of countries seen as friendly to new enterprises.
Although Greece’s One-Stop Service facility was supposed to considerably reduce the number of days required to set up a new business in this country, this only happens sporadically, and mostly when it concerns one-person firms.
Regarding Greece, for the purposes of its survey, the World Bank investigated the procedures required for the establishment of a company with a share capital 10 times the country’s gross domestic product and based in Athens. In that case, it took 11 days for 11 procedures to be completed, the cost came to 20.5 percent of per capita income, while the minimum capital paid amounted to 24.4 percent of per capita income. It is no coincidence that the draft of the new memorandum between Athens and its creditors provides for the government to take measures by June 2013 in order to reduce the cost of starting a business by 50 percent.
In the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), on average, five procedures and 12 days are required, the cost is just 4.5 percent of the per capita income and the minimum capital to be paid amounts to 13.3 percent of the per capita income.
The three areas which saw key reforms implemented in Greece and improved its position were the issue of building permits, which now takes 89 days instead of 169, the change in the law about bankruptcy, and investor protection, given that the information flow regarding various transactions that concern listed companies has now improved.