Jamaica slips five spaces in Doing Business Report

Puerto Rico now leads Caribbean

Business reporter

Friday, December 14, 2018

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Jamaica has slipped five places in the Doing Business Report 2019, ranking as the 75th best place to do business worldwide.

On the upside, the island moved up eight places to take the 12th spot in the World Bank Group flagship report for improved access to credit information through the distribution of data from utility companies.

However, the single approval was against three ticks Jamaica received in the year 2018 for starting a business, getting electricity and trading across borders. The five place slip has also led to Jamaica losing its position as the first in the Caribbean in respect of the ease of doing business.

Puerto Rico now leads the Caribbean as the 64th best place to conduct business worldwide.

The Caribbean island was hailed for making enforced contracts easier through the introduction of a web-based platform that offers lawyers a single access point for electronic filing of the initial complaint and for electronic payment of court fees.

Puerto Rico's system also allows lawyers and judges to manage case files throughout the litigation process.

On the contrary, Jamaica fell from 122nd place in 2018 to 127th on enforcing contracts in the 2019 report. According to the World Bank, the country has maintained its requirement of 550 days and costs of approximately 50.2 per cent of the total claim, compared to 768.5 days and a cost of 31.4 per cent of the claim in the other Caribbean and Latin American countries.

Since 2017, Jamaica has consecutively slipped in its ranking year over year. The slips were somewhat attributable to new methodologies the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation employs in investigating the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it.

Despite the downward rank, Jamaica managed to cop sixth in the world as it relates to starting a business, compared to ranking fifth in 2018. The World Bank noted that Jamaica requires two procedures and three days to start a business, improving from 10 days in 2017, while it requires 8.2 procedures and more than 28.5 days to start a business on average in the Caribbean and Latin America.

The island also ranked one place downward for its dealing with construction permits and paying taxes. The requirement of 19 procedures to deal with construction permits, compared to 15.4 procedures across the rest of the Caribbean and Latin America, placed Jamaica at 76th in the 2019 report. It ranked 123 for paying taxes, slightly worse than 122 in 2017.

As for electricity, Jamaica's rank fell from 91 in 2018 to115 in 2019. According to the World Bank's flagship report, it requires seven procedures, 95 days and cost approximately 23.9 of income per capita to get electricity in Jamaica relative to just 5.5 procedures, 65.5 days and a cost of 946.3 per cent of income per person in the other Caribbean and Latin American countries.

Nonetheless, the country ranked ahead of Panama which placed 79th.

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