Professional activities of Portuguese-speaking businesspeople easier in Portugal, Mozambique and Brazil

16 September 2008

Washington, United States, 16 Sept – Portugal, Mozambique and Brazil and the Portuguese-speaking countries in which business activities are easiest, according to the latest edition of the “Doing Business” survey by the World Bank.

In the survey published last week, Mozambique was once again the subject of heavy praise from the authors, despite being in 141st place amongst 181 countries, which was still the best place amongst Portuguese-speaking African countries, which last year was given to Cape Verde.

“Mozambique has made hiring workers easier via a new labour law. The law increases the maximum duration of fixed term contracts and reduces the notification period for redundancies,” noted the World Bank.

The introduction of a new electronic format tax form, which makes it “easier” to pay taxes, is also considered positive, as well as the increased scope of the simplified tax code, for companies with revenues of up to 2.5 million meticais.

The best aspect in Mozambique is investor protection (38th place overall, better even than the average for rich OECD countries) and payment of taxes (88th); it performed worst in the labour market (161st) and the construction process (153rd).

As well as this, the survey noted, “with more judges receiving formal continuous training, more restrictive performance management measures and greater administrative support, Mozambique expects to see improvements in its legal system, contributing to a speedier application of contracts.”

According to the World Bank, creating a new company takes an average of 26 days, in order to pay taxes 37 procedures are required, demanding 230 hours of time and a dispute about payment of a commercial contract can take 730 days and cost much more than the amount owed (142.5 percent on average).

The list of countries is the result of comparing performance in creating companies, obtaining construction licenses, registering property, getting loans, investor protection, payment of taxes, international trade, contractual security and closing businesses.

Labour changes considered to be negative to the flexibility of the market were the main drivers for Cape Verde’s fall in the ranking, as it lost six places against the previous survey, this year placing 143rd.

“In April 2008 Cape Verde introduced a new labour code, which makes it more difficult to hire new workers,” and which, “reduces the flexibility in use of fixed term contracts, limiting their duration. It also made it more difficult to give notice of firing workers, increasing the notification period from 30 to 45 days,” said the World Bank.

In relation to Angola, in 168th place, “the long and heavy process of starting a business improved, thanks to the new “Single Business Office” reducing the time needed by two months,” it said.

“To improve the process of obtaining construction licenses in Luanda, the provincial government is in charge of organising and distributing the documents related to construction licenses to the agencies involved in water and electricity inspections,” speeding up the process, the World Bank added.

In Angola, the best is investor protection (53rd overall) and the worst is the strength of contracts (179th) and hiring workers (174th).

Setting up a company currently takes an average of 68 days and around 272 hours are needed to pay taxes.

Guinea Bissau is placed 179th out of 181 in the ranking, having implemented no reforms that were worth noting, according to the World Bank.

The same lack of reforms was noted by the World Bank in Sao Tome and Principe, which fell to 176th place, and in East Timor, which ranked 170th.

Portugal and Brazil continue to be the best Portuguese-speaking countries in which to do business, in 48th and 125th positions, respectively.

“Portugal reformed it bankruptcy laws, eliminating the need to publish notices of insolvency in the press, introducing speedier procedures for small creditors and limiting court proceedings,” the survey said.

The country also introduced an online request for construction licenses.

As for Brazil, the World Bank highlighted improvements in internatinoal trade, particularly the four-day reduction in the time needed for export and the merger of the import and export reporting systems into “Siscomex Carga.”

“Due to an increase in the number of trading agents authorised to use the ‘via verde’ status the number of inspections has been reduced thus speeding up customs traffic,” the survey said. (macauhub)