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- GDP (PPP):
- $6.8 billion
- 4.5% growth
- 4.1% 5-year compound annual growth
- $12,398 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Suriname’s economic freedom score is 54.2, making its economy the 130th freest in the 2014 Index. Its score is 2.2 points better than last year due to improvements in six of the 10 economic freedoms including the control of government spending, monetary freedom, investment freedom, 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.
Suriname’s economic freedom was first graded in the 1996 Index, and its score has improved since then by 17.5 points. Score improvements have been achieved in half of the 10 economic freedoms, notably monetary freedom, trade freedom, and the management of public spending. Reform measures have enabled Sudan to advance from economically “repressed” since 2005.
Nonetheless, overall private-sector growth continues to be hampered by the state’s heavy presence in Suriname’s economy. Privatization has been slow and uneven. Direct state involvement in the economy through ownership or control remains considerable. Pervasive corruption continues to undermine the judicial system and the rule of law.
In 2010, former dictator Desi Bouterse of the National Democratic Party, running in a coalition with the economic reform–oriented New Front, was returned to power as president. In 1999, he had been convicted in absentia of narcotics trafficking by a Dutch court. In May 2012, Suriname’s unicameral legislature amended an amnesty law to absolve him of murders committed during the military coup he led in 1982. 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. Continued commitment to responsible monetary and fiscal policies and introduction of structural reforms to liberalize markets and promote competition will be crucial to economic progress.
Suriname has been plagued by corruption cases in recent years, and organized crime and drug networks continue to hamper governance and undermine the judicial system. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, license issuance, land policy, and taxation. The judiciary is susceptible to political influence and suffers from a significant shortage of judges and a large backlog of cases. Property rights are not well protected.
The top individual 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 19 percent of the domestic economy. Overall public spending is 27 percent of GDP. Public debt amounts to about 20 percent of gross domestic output. The country is debating creating a sovereign wealth fund, which could buoy public finances.
Despite some progress, licensing requirements are burdensome, and procedures for launching a business are time-consuming. Bankruptcy proceedings are difficult and often prolonged. The formal labor market is not fully developed, and the public sector remains a major source of employment. Inflation has been extremely volatile. The government supports state-owned utility companies through a complicated web of cross subsidies and transfers.
Suriname’s average tariff rate is 11.9 percent. Foreign investment is screened by the government, and the legal system may move slowly in adjudicating contract disputes. The financial sector remains underdeveloped and vulnerable to government influence. Financial regulations are antiquated, and supervision is poor. Capital markets offer only a narrow range of government and other securities.