SLOVAKIA has been ranked 46th among 134 countries evaluated in the 2008-2009 Global Competitiveness Report compiled by the World Economic Forum. The position represents a fall of four places from last year and was the country’s second successive shift downward, said Robert Kičina, the executive director of the Slovak Business Alliance (PAS). The PAS is an official Slovak partner of the World Economic Forum, the SITA newswire wrote.
Kičina said that government negligence in resolving persistent problems in the business environment was the main reason for the slip. The World Economic Forum again identified high taxes and social and health insurance contributions, together with the costs of agricultural policy, as being Slovakia’s biggest competitive disadvantages.
The survey is unique because the assessment is mostly based on the opinions of managers of firms submitted via questionnaires, and on their views about the future. Previous statistical data are given little weight.
Other competitive disadvantages listed were widespread cronyism and the extraordinarily low confidence of citizens in the financial incorruptibility of Slovak politicians. The report added that Slovakia is still grappling with the low effectiveness of general government expenditure, underdeveloped aviation infrastructure and public transport, a high administrative burden placed on businesses and poor enforceability of laws.
The report identified a significant deterioration in labour legislation, for which the country’s ranking has fallen from fifteenth to sixty-fifth position in the past two years.
On the other hand, the World Economic Forum listed as advantages Slovakia's openness to foreign investors and the new technology which they bring, its low barriers to the import and export of goods, flexibility in wage bargaining and a close correlation between salaries and labour productivity, low terrorism-related risks and access to capital.
13. Oct 2008 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff from press reports