Too many obstacles - The Best from Greece

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Posted on: 29/Mar/2011

STARTING a business in Bangladesh is easier than in Greece, according to an annual report by the World Bank.

Ranking countries on criteria such as how easy it is to form a business or get credit, the World Bank’s Doing Business 2011 report shows Greece in 109th place.

Greece is the worst European country in which to run a business. The United Kingdom, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Estonia - the best in the European Union - are ranked in the top 20.

Greece ranked just above Bosnia and Herzegovina and under Bangladesh and the Marshall Islands.
“Yes, it’s easier in Bangladesh,” Yiannis Stournaras, director of the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (IOBE), said. “This shows us just how much we’re lagging behind.”

But the problems are easy to fix, according to Stournaras (photo).
“All you have to do is make the procedure less bureaucratic and much less time-consuming,” he explains.

The government last week asked the IOBE for ideas and recommendations.
“We believe this is very important,” Stournaras said. “We are working with the development ministry. We submitted our opinion - we identified the 30 biggest obstacles that must be removed.”
“Based on the information I have, the government is very serious about removing the obstacles,” he added.

One of IOBE’s key proposals to make it easier for people wanting to start a business in Greece is to create a sort of one-stop shop for all the necessary permits and licences required. We have proposed that officials should be given up to three months to examine an application for a business permit.

“And if the authorities do not respond to an application during this three-month period, the application should be considered approved,” Stournaras explained. “Otherwise, nothing will work.

There are people waiting years to get all their paperwork to start a business.”
The Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV) also published a report last week outlining more than 200 problems associated with trying to set up a business in Greece.

“Removing these obstacles will multiply a Greek company’s chances of competing and will increase their contribution in the country’s development efforts,” Dimitris Daskalopoulos, president of SEV, said.

Lowering operation costs and making the labour market more flexible are at the top of the solutions cited in the report, which Daskalopoulos personally delivered to Development Minister Michalis Chrysochoidis.

“Let’s join forces and proceed together so as to create a new national pact for development with specific goals, actions and procedures,” the minister said upon receiving the report.


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