ECONOMY

Greece’s competitiveness slides

Greece has fallen 10 places since last year on a world competitiveness report for the year 2009, ranking in one of the lowest positions occupied by an EU country, due to its lack of reforms and poor results on the macroeconomic front, survey results showed yesterday. A study prepared by Lausanne-based business school the International Institute for Management Development (IMD), along with the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SVVE), showed that Greece fell to position No 52 in a world competitiveness yearbook that assessed 57 countries. Greece lost ground from 2008 due to the inefficient implementation of government reforms, high inflation and the administration’s poor adjustment to economic developments, SVVE said in a statement. Other weak points for Greece included poor economic transparency, a widening budget deficit and the high cost of capital, it added. The USA topped the list, followed by Hong Kong and Singapore. Greece took the second-worst position among the 24 EU member states included in the survey, beating only Romania. EU members Cyprus, Malta and Latvia were not included in the survey. SVVE president Nikos Pentzos called on the government to focus on the industrial sector and become more fair in its financial dealings with businesses as a means of making the economy more competitive on a global level. «Today businesses’ cash flow is dramatically reduced, not only due to the restrictive tactics adopted by banks but also due to the inconsistent way in which the state repays money it owes,» he said. Greece’s annual performance was among the worst in the world. Other nations to slip 10 places over the 12 month period were Colombia, Taiwan and Romania. Estonia suffered the worst annual performance, slipping 12 positions from last year.