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- GDP (PPP):
- $9.1 billion
- 0.1% growth
- 2.6% 5-year compound annual growth
- $16,292 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
The entrepreneurial environment in Suriname remains constrained by a burdensome and inefficient regulatory framework. Despite recent progress in achieving some macroeconomic stability and market reforms, there has been little overall development of a more dynamic private sector.
Privatization has been slow and uneven. Direct state involvement in the economy through ownership or control remains considerable. Poor policy choices and the uncertainty generated by weak management of fiscal and monetary policy have increased the risks for entrepreneurs. Pervasive corruption continues to undermine the judicial system and the rule of law.
Former dictator and convicted narco-trafficker Desire “Dési” Bouterse of the National Democratic Party began a second consecutive five-year term as president in 2015. Bouterse first took power in 1980 when he led the “Sergeants Coup” that overthrew the civilian government and installed a military regime that ruled until 1987. Also in 2015, Bouterse’s son, Dino, began serving a 16-year prison sentence after pleading guilty in New York to charges of drug trafficking and providing material support to a terrorist organization. Legislative amnesty for the president’s role in the1982 murders of 15 politically prominent young men who had criticized the military dictatorship was invalidated in 2016, increasing the possibility of political turmoil. The economy is dominated by the exploitation of natural resources.
Property rights are not well protected. Organized criminal gangs have fueled increases in crime, narco-trafficking, and human trafficking, hampering governance and undermining the judicial system. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, issuance of licenses, land policy, and taxation. The trial of Suriname’s president for the 1982 deaths of political opponents was cleared to resume in 2016 after a military court invalidated an amnesty law.
The top personal income tax rate is 38 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 36 percent. Other taxes include a property tax and an excise tax. The overall tax burden equals 15.7 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 31.8 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 8.1 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 43.3 percent of GDP.
Licensing requirements are quite burdensome, and procedures for launching a business are time-consuming. Enforcement of the labor code is not effective in practice, and the formal labor market is not fully developed. Under an IMF program, the government has undertaken measures to reduce electricity tariff subsidies. The program calls for the complete elimination of these subsidies along with an increase in fuel taxes.
Trade is important to Suriname’s economy; the value of exports and imports taken together equals 91 percent of GDP. The average applied tariff rate is 10.8 percent. Foreign investment is screened by the government, and land and natural resources are owned by the state. The financial system remains underdeveloped and vulnerable to government influence. Financial regulations are antiquated, and supervision is poor.