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SEV: Doing Business in Greece Still Tough

Syntagma Square, Athens

Syntagma Square, Athens. Photo © GNTO/Y Skoulas

Greece still has a long way to go toward facilitating entrepreneurship, ranking 79th among 190 countries in the World Bank’s 2020 global Doing Business chart, according to the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV).

The country dropped from the 72nd spot last year (and 19 spots since 2015), showing improvement in only three business regulatory areas out of 10 indicators examined by World Bank.

Indicators are: ease of starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit for business, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

Major problem areas include taxation which accounts for 52 percent of profits (compared to the OECD country average of 40 percent), 23 percent taxation on profit (against 15 percent in the OECD), and 28.3 percent taxation on wages and social security contributions (versus 23.5 percent in the OECD).

Indicatively, starting a business in Greece requires four days; issuing a building permit requires 17 procedures and 180 days; getting electricity takes 51 days; and real estate transfer require 11 procedures and 26 days.

According to the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises (SEV), which assessed the data, “the ease of doing business in Greece is improving but at a very slow pace and with inadequate steps, resulting in our country lagging behind in shaping a competitive environment compared to other countries, which are improving their indicators more rapidly”.

Greece achieved an overall rating of 68.4 out of 100 in 2019 – a minor improvement from 66.9/100 in 2015.

SEV analysts note that Greece can move up to 51st spot if it manages to align a number of its lagging parameters with the OECD average.

Economies with the most notable improvement according to the Doing Business 2020 report were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India and Nigeria, implementing one-fifth of all the reforms recorded worldwide.

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