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- GDP (PPP):
- $7.2 billion
- 4.7% growth
- 4.4% 5-year compound annual growth
- $13,116 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Suriname’s economic freedom score is 54.2, making its economy the 129th freest in the 2015 Index. Its score remains the same as last year, with improvements in half of the 10 economic freedoms, including monetary freedom and freedom from corruption, offset by declines in property rights and the management of government spending. Suriname is ranked 23rd out of 29 countries in the South and Central America/Caribbean region, and its overall score is lower than the regional average.
Over the past five years, Suriname’s overall economic freedom score has risen by 1.1 points, with advances in half of the 10 economic freedoms. Large gains in investment freedom have been offset by declines in the control of government spending and property rights.
Despite an export-oriented economy focused on commodity and mineral trade, Suriname has yet to benefit fully from global trade and investment. High tariff rates protect domestic businesses from competition, and regulatory inefficiency often impedes overseas investment. The rule of law is undermined by a growing domestic drug trade that encourages corruption.
In 2010, former dictator and convicted narco-trafficker Desire “Dési” Bouterse of the National Democratic Party was re-elected president for a five year term. 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. In 2012, Suriname’s legislature gave him amnesty for the 1982 murders of 15 prominent young Surinamese men who had criticized the military dictatorship. In 2013, Bouterse’s son Dino was arrested in Panama and extradited to New York, where he pleaded guilty in 2014 to charges of drug-trafficking and providing material support to a terrorist organization. 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, which are subject to boom-and-bust price fluctuations.
Organized crime and drug networks undermine governance and the judicial system. Corruption is most pervasive in government procurement, license issuance, land policy, and taxation. In 2013, despite a pledge to do so, the government did not establish a constitutional court to review the revised amnesty law’s constitutionality. The judiciary is susceptible to political influence. 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 18.3 percent of domestic output. Public expenditures amount to 29.5 percent of the domestic economy, and government debt equals 29 percent of GDP.
Incorporating a business takes six procedures and 10 days, with no minimum capital required, but licensing takes more than 200 days on average. Although labor codes are favorable to flexibility, an efficient labor market has not been developed, and informal activity remains substantial. 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. Imports of used cars are restricted, and foreign firms may face barriers when bidding for government contracts. The government reviews new foreign investment. The financial system is underdeveloped, and credit decisions are subject to state influence. Reflecting the system’s lack of depth and efficiency, the capital market remains rudimentary.