- GDP (PPP):
- $9.4 billion
- 2.3% growth
- -0.5% 5-year compound annual growth
- $17,005 per capita
- Inflation (CPI):
- FDI Inflow:
Suriname’s economic freedom score is 46.4, making its economy the 169th freest in the 2021 Index. Its overall score has decreased by 3.1 points, primarily because of declines in labor freedom and trade freedom. Suriname is ranked 29th among 32 countries in the Americas region, and its overall score is below the regional and world averages.
The economy of Suriname remains in the repressed category for the fifth year in a row. To achieve greater economic freedom, the new government will need to prioritize deep, structural, and comprehensive reforms of the judicial system, continue the president’s anticorruption campaign, and implement fiscal consolidation to reduce the country’s very large fiscal deficits and external debt.
IMPACT OF COVID-19: As of December 1, 2020, 117 deaths had been attributed to the pandemic in Suriname, and the economy was forecast to contract by 13.1 percent for the year.
Former leftist President Desire “Dési” Bouterse, a convicted murderer and cocaine trafficker in office since 2010, was denied a third consecutive five-year term in May 2020 elections. Suriname’s new centrist president, Chandrikapersad “Chan” Santokhi, leads the Progressive Reform Party (VHP) and controls 20 of the parliament’s 51 seats. In coalition with the General Liberation and Development Party (ABOP) and National Party of Suriname (NPS), the VHP rules with a total of 33 seats. The election results could be a sign of greater political stability and economic reform. Suriname’s economy relies primarily on the extraction of natural resources, and newly discovered oil fields are attracting foreign investment. The former Dutch colony remains one of South America’s least developed countries.
Property rights have been poorly protected, and the property registry is extremely inefficient. Much of the country’s land lacks clear title. Organized crime, drug and human trafficking, and corrupt governance flourished under the previous administration. The new president, having successfully prosecuted and convicted his predecessor on charges of mass murder, has pledged to reestablish democratic institutions and the rule of law.
The top individual income tax rate is 38 percent, and the top corporate tax rate is 36 percent. Other taxes include property and excise taxes. The overall tax burden equals 16.1 percent of total domestic income. Government spending has amounted to 32.6 percent of total output (GDP) over the past three years, and budget deficits have averaged 8.2 percent of GDP. Public debt is equivalent to 78.1 percent of GDP.
The costs involved in starting a business, obtaining electricity, and dealing with construction permits have increased. The government has also begun to limit the length of fixed-term contracts. The exit of a large aluminum company from Suriname in 2015 reduced national income. According to the IMF, funding for government-subsidized electricity consumed 3.4 percent of GDP in 2020.
Suriname has two preferential trade agreements in force. The trade-weighted average tariff rate is 12.4 percent, and one formal nontariff measure is in effect. Other regulatory barriers, exacerbated by direct state interference in the economy through ownership or control, remain considerable and undercut the potential gains from trade and investment. The financial system remains underdeveloped and vulnerable to government influence.