A report called “Doing Business 2014” sponsored by the World Bank says that Belize ranks 106 out of 189 countries in terms of “how easy or difficult it is for a local entrepreneur to open and run a small to medium-size business when complying with relevant regulations.” This is two notches down from last year, below the regional average for Latin America and the Caribbean which is 100, and far below Mexico which ranks 53rd and Guatemala which ranks 79th. The problem with Belize? Well, the study says that doing business in Belize is just plain difficult, from dealing with construction permits to registering property, to paying taxes, to getting electricity, it’s all just plain difficult in Belize. In terms of ease of starting a business Belize is ranked 167th – which is way below the regional average; in terms of getting credit, Belize is ranked 130th, and in terms of protecting investors, Belize is ranked 138.
As you might expect, Government Investment Czar Mike Singh doesn’t like the report one bit. He says they have very little comments to substantiate the information provided, there’s no fresh, updated information from last year and this is because they have not had a formal point of contact in Belize. He says that this year his office has provided updated information on reforms but the new information will not be reflected until the next publishing.
Another international report of local interest comes from the IDB. It’s called Climatescope 2013 and it gives an overview of clean energy investment opportunities in Latin America and the Caribbean.
The report finds that Belize’s electricity rate is among the top ten highest in the region, but the 21 cents US per kilowatt hour is much lower than Jamaica’s average of 41 cents US per kilowatt hour.
Overall, the report finds Belize as being weak on energy policies but strong in having the highest percentage of clean energy installed capacity with 94% of local electricity generation coming from re-newable sources. The downside, though, is that this is just half of the total electricity consumed, with the rest being bought at very dear prices from Mexico. But the strong renewable energy profile earned Belize a distinction, it is one of only three countries that moved up the ranking in the last year.