By Angelos Anastasiou
THE NEED to combat bureaucracy, simplify procedures and update the structures and practices in Cyprus were the main conclusions drawn from the World Bank’s Doing Business Report 2014, in which Cyprus ranked 39th among 189 countries.
The Doing Business report aims to evaluate participating countries on ten indexes affecting and related to the ‘lifestyle of a business’, meaning from the moment of a company’s registration until the end of its operations.
The report’s results are based on analysis of data collected from questionnaires answered by correspondents of the private and public sectors in participating countries.
On CIPA’s initiative, Cyprus participated in the Report for the fifth consecutive year, ranking one position lower than 2013 at 39, though in addition to economic developments disastrous to the economy in 2013, it should be noted that the number of participating countries rose to 189 in 2014, compared with 185 in 2013 and 183 in the three preceding years.
In a total of ten category rankings, Cyprus improved its position in three, kept its rating in one and marked losses in six.
“Starting a new business” and “Building permits” were the two categories in which most significant perceived weaknesses were reported by investors, with ranking losses of 9 and 7 spots respectively compared to last year.
Cyprus ranked 16th among the 28 EU member states and had a higher rating than the EU average, though lower than that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
Speaking at the event, CIPA president Christodoulos Angastiniotis acknowledged the problems facing investors and the need for swift reactions to developments.
“We need to raise our pace and increase the speed with which we respond to new developments”, he said.
“CIPA acts as an advisor to the government on reform issues for improving the investment environment and is willing to help stakeholders in promoting reforms within its own sphere of competence.”
Angastiniotis announced that CIPA would suggest measures to alleviate current problems in a series of meetings with relevant authorities next week.
He also criticised the commerce ministry with regard to the ‘one-stop shop’ service for setting up a business, conceding that the service exists but claiming it functions inefficiently.
“CIPA will propose to take over this service”, he said.