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- GDP (PPP):
- $5.1 billion
- 4.5% growth
- 3.1% 5-year compound annual growth
- $9,475 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Suriname’s economic freedom score is 52.0, making its economy the 135th freest in the 2013 Index. Its score is 0.6 point lower than last year, reflecting substantial declines in monetary freedom, freedom from corruption, and labor freedom. Suriname is ranked 23rd out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is lower than the world and regional averages.
Serious institutional deficiencies that include poor governance and an inefficient public sector still stifle economic dynamism and development in Suriname. Underdeveloped legal and physical infrastructure and political instability continue to undermine much-needed long-term investment and the emergence of a vibrant private sector. The government’s outsized role in the economy further reduces opportunities for meaningful economic development, and a lack of political will for reform leaves businesses struggling within a poor regulatory framework.
Ineffective protection of property rights further discourages entrepreneurial activity. Pervasive corruption continues to undermine the judicial system and the rule of law, making it harder to lay a solid foundation for economic freedom, and policies necessary to sustain open markets have not been firmly institutionalized.
Democracy was re-established in 1991 after more than a decade of military rule. In 2010, former dictator Desi Bouterse of the National Democratic Party, who ran in a coalition with the incumbent and economic reform–oriented New Front, was returned to power as president. In 1999, he was convicted in absentia of narcotics trafficking by a Dutch court. In May 2012, Suriname’s unicameral legislature amended an amnesty law to absolve all atrocities committed during the 1980–1992 period. Suriname remains one of South America’s poorest and least-developed countries. The economy is dominated by exports of natural resources, especially alumina, oil, and gold, and is highly vulnerable to commodity price fluctuations. The country has rich oil reserves and bauxite deposits.
Property rights are not well protected. There is a severe shortage of judges, and dispute settlement can be very time-consuming. Protection of intellectual property rights is weak. Widespread corruption undermines the government’s capacity to provide basic public services. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, license issuance, land policy, and taxation.
The top income tax rate is 38 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 36 percent. Other taxes include a property tax, a tax on dividends, and an excise tax. The overall tax burden equals 10 percent of total domestic income. Government spending is equivalent to 30.3 percent of GDP. Narrowing deficits have led to a shrinking public debt, which sits at about 20 percent of total domestic output.
The regulatory framework is not conducive to private-sector development. Licensing requirements are burdensome, and launching a business takes more than 600 days. The formal labor market is not fully developed, and the public sector remains a major source of employment. Inflation has been extremely volatile. The state influences prices through regulations and state-owned enterprises.
The trade-weighted average tariff rate is quite high at 11.9 percent, and additional non-tariff barriers further limit trade freedom. Private investment remains weak, partly because of heavy government interference in the economy. The onerous and non-transparent investment regime deters much-needed long-term foreign investment. The financial sector is underdeveloped, and credit decisions are subject to state influence.