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Greece spectacularly improves business environment, World Bank report

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Greece spectacularly improved its business environment during the last year, raising its ranking by 22 steps to the 78th position among 185 countries evaluated in the World Bank’s "Doing Business 2013" report.

The report said that Greece was the 8th country with the biggest improvement in the regulatory framework for business activity last year, with Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the US and Denmark ranking at the top.

Greece’s current position in the Doing Business 2013 report is a result of the country’s performance in facilitating business activities, such as business set-up (Greece ranks 146th), building license (31st), electricity supply (59th), credit access (83rd), tax payment (56th), asset register (83rd), external trade (62nd), clearing of bankrupt companies (56th) and investor protection (117th).

The World Bank, in its report, said that it takes 11 procedures and 11 days to open a new business in Greece, while the cost totals 20.5 pct of per capita income (25,030 US dollars) and minimum capital totals 24.4 pct of per capita income. Greek enterprises spend an average 202 hours annually in tax payment, while total tax rate reaches 44.6 pct of profits.

Greek Development Minister Kostis Hatzidakis on Tuesday welcomed Greece's improvement in the rankings, in statements after meeting the head of the European Commission Task Force for Greece Horst Reichenbach, who also congratulated Greece on its spectacular improvement.

A ministry announcement underlined that the country had achieved the greatest improvement in the past six years, while Greece was also among 23 countries in the world that had showed improvement in at least three of the areas examined by the World Bank for the purposes of the report, indicating that its rise in the rankings was the result of a broad reform programme.

"Today we have the first positive news about the Greek economy for a long time," Hatzidakis said, stressing that this would be heard worldwide and expressing hope that more good news will follow. "This did not happen by chance and was not done by me. It was done by my predecessors. It is based on work on the level of structural changes, on simplifying the business environment, licensing etc that led to the country's overall improvement internationally, in terms of competitiveness," he added.

He also said that the government's commitment was to continue in this vein, expressing hope that this will happen with the support of the majority of the Greek people. He also listed recent examples of such reforms, such as updating market regulations or action to tackle tax-evasion in the fuel market, or planned legislation to facilitate investments and simplify the issue of professional licences.

Hatzidakis said the government had also asked the World Bank for closer cooperation in examining the economy and identifying areas where further improvements might be made that would allow Greece to rise further in the rankings and become more attractive to investors.

SOURCE: ATHENS NEWS AGENCY

Last Updated Wednesday, 24 October 2012
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