WHILE addressing the 2017 Ease of Doing Business Workshop last month, Prime Minister Allen Chastanet indicated that the “colonization of today is economics,” and that he “did not care where we rank” in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report, but was more concerned whether we were being competitive.
The P.M.’s position showed some enlightenment, in questioning the meaning of the metrics, and instead focused attention on the intended outcome or benefit. If we understand what the ranking means, then we may not finish the race first and it would not matter, since we would be clear on the metrics of our own progress.
In the news this week, the Minister for Infrastructure, Stephenson King, explained ongoing efforts to alleviate the heavy traffic conditions in the north of the island. By restricting turns across the highway, and allowing some traffic to divert onto secondary roads, the traffic conditions could be improved.
It is useful comparing two statements: the P.M. questioning our ranking on the ease of doing business and Minster King working to improve the flow of traffic and, thereby, increase the speed of doing business.
The Ease of Doing Business index mostly refers to the time and the cost of undertaking various activities, such as starting a business, or registering property. The flow of traffic, and the flow of information, both contribute to economic competitiveness. Slow moving queues cause extra time to be spent in transacting business, which raises costs and has a negative economic impact.
Since the flow of goods, information, and people are critical to competitiveness, we should expect a departure from the quoting of simple statistics that simply sound good, and embrace the more substantial activities that address inadequacies in the speed of doing business. Our road users, and those who queue for service at our various government agencies, would appreciate a better quality of service if delays could be controlled to reduce transaction times and contain costs.
Computers can calculate exactly the amount of time and CPU resources consumed in completing a specific job. For us, it is not an easy task, but one that we should measure, refine, and redefine, to be more competitive.
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About the Author
Dr.Lyndell St. Ville is an ICT Consultant based in Saint Lucia. His expertise includes systems analysis, capacity building, and data management.