How to lose businesses and alienate investors

Last week (during a house-giveaway cadena), the comandante presidente committed himself yet again to work side by side with the private sector if he’s reelected on October 7th.

Any investor thinking of doing business in Venezuela after hearing that should better get ready to deal with the tons and tons of red tape necessary just to get things started.

The latest edition of the “Doing Business” report, published by the World Bank, indicates that Venezuela is one of the ten worse places on Earth to start a business. Of 183 countries reviewed we ended up in 177th place, dropping two places from 2011.

Why? In part, because then it used to take 144 days to open a business and now it takes 147. In a single year, we made it even harder!

Other Latin American countries are making reforms to attract investors. For example, Uruguay reduced the delays involved in creating a company from two months to seven days.

Dealing with bureaucracy is one of the ordeals any person must confront to actually do anything in this country. Then comes our unofficial national sport: Waiting in line. The alternative goes to bypassing the law and use the help of middlemen known as gestores.

For every new procedure the Chavernment creates, there will be gestores already in place. As the gasoline chip is suspended in Maracaibo but active in Merida, the example remains. The official response is that they’re doing their best to “…make the life of the people easier and more effective”.

If we want our economy to improve, some serious administrative reforms will be needed.  Haiti, a hemispheric basketcase still not quite out of the rubble of the 2010 earthquake, makes it a little bit easier to start a business than we do!