The Executive Director of the Saint Lucia Employers Federation (SLEF) Joseph Alexander has observed that Saint Lucia has been declining for quite some time in the annual World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report.
He recalled that about a decade ago this country was ranked 27 or 28.
“We have declined – and not steadily you know; rapidly to the point where we are at 93,” Alexander told St Lucia Times.
The SLEF official noted that there are certain criteria on which countries are judged, one of which relates to the ease of getting a bank loan.
He recalled that particularly since the financial crisis hit Saint Lucia in 2007 it has been difficult to get a loan.
The SLEF Executive Dirrector explained that such a situation would lower Saint Lucia’s ease of doing business status.
According to Alexander, one of the other factors relates to getting permission for construction or setting up a company here.
He expressed the view that Saint Lucia has made some improvements in those areas by setting up an on line registry.
However he observed that even getting approval from the Development Control Authority (DCA) for construction forms part of the ease of doing business appraisal.
“I don’t think there’s been much improvement in how quickly you can get an approved plan out of the DCA,” Alexander told St Lucia Times.
“All those things add up and eventually it keeps dragging us down,” he stated.
The SLEF Executive Director described the World Bank Ease of Doing Business report as a ‘critical’ document.
“If an investor is planning to come to Saint Lucia that would be one of the first things he would look at. He would look at how difficult it would be to get involved in business in Saint Lucia.”
“If you are too low down that pole, they will look around to see if there are Islands around your size but doing much better than you,” Alexander declared.