ECONOMY

Tougher to do business in Greece

Greece slipped 12 places to position number 109 on a global index assessing 183 countries based on how easy it is to do business there. The Doing Business index, put together by the World Bank, showed that Greece lost ground in eight of the nine business fronts assessed in the 2011 report. The Greek government failed to complete any positive reforms in the last 12 months, according to the report, which did point out that one change had been implemented. «Greece made transferring property more costly by increasing the transfer tax from 1 percent of the property value to 10 percent,» the report said. Following the latest drop, Greece now ranks below countries such as Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea and Bangladesh. Regarding points given for starting up a business, Greece fell to position number 149, from 140 last year, as government plans to simplify procedures failed to provide any impetus. To start up a limited liability company in Greece, 15 steps are required that require 19 days, placing the country in the last 10 nations globally. Comments last year by Louka Katseli, who was then serving as economy minister, that Greece would climb 10 places on the Doing Business index after the simpler procedures were implemented, now seem way off the mark. Countries such as Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Peru and Rwanda may have gone ahead and set up one-stop-shop services, helping companies to do business, but in Greece this has yet to occur. Apart from difficulties in launching business operations, Greece also scored very poorly as to the ease with which a business can shut down. The report put Greece in position number 49 when it comes to closing a firm, down from position number 43 last year. Topping the global list for the fifth straight year was Singapore, followed by Hong Kong, New Zealand and the UK.