Bratislava, Slovakia (Dennis Jarvis, CC BY-SA)
The country finished in 38th place, Slovak Business Alliance (PAS) executive director Peter Kremský told the TASR newswire on June 28th.
Despite a slight annual increase in Slovakia’s latest tally – by 0.12 points to 78.4 points – its overall position worsened by three places when compared to the index compiled last year. Slovakia finished right behind Romania, Macedonia, Portugal and Spain; and continues to lag behind the best-ranked countries in terms of business environment, noted PAS.
The improvement was caused by better assessments received from the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the World Bank (WB), as well as the improved corruption perceptions of Transparency International (TI).
Conversely, a drop in the Heritage Foundation’s Index of Economic Freedom turned out to be a dampener on a better position for Slovakia. The country has failed, for the eighth consecutive year, to catch up with the most attractive countries from the point of view of business, PAS opined as quoted by the Sme daily.
Most of Slovakia’s neighboring countries, the Czech Republic, Poland and Austria, improved slightly but Hungary is amongst the most declining countries in the world, ending up in 48th place. For the eighth year in a row, Singapore took the top spot, followed by Hong Kong and New Zealand. In fourth and fifth places, respectively, Switzerland and Sweden fared best among the European countries.
The rating relies on data from four global rankings released annually by WEF, WB, TI and the Heritage Foundation, TASR wrote.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Markéta Šetinová, coordinator of the Czech branch of the worldwide CSR initiative Global Compact Network, said: “They also feel much more pressure from their customers, investors and legislation.” The idea of CSR today covers overall business behavior that leads to sustainable development and improvement in the quality of life in society. Even in Slovakia it is no longer simply about the redistribution of profits, but whether companies make their profits in a responsible manner, according to the executive director of the Business Leaders Forum (BLF) Michal Kišša.
While there is no specific CSR topic to which companies in Slovakia incline, the most frequent activities are fair-mindedness to employees, health and safety at work, and environmental protection. In addition, Kišša sees many companies doing business with products for disadvantaged people, eco-products and social innovations.
The general Slovak public thus also improves its awareness on the issue. Currently, BLF keeps track of the 18 per cent of the population that does not know anything about CSR. By contrast, 33 per cent even know how to identify responsible businesses, Kišša said.
Another long-term Slovak CSR contributor is the compressor producer Embraco Slovakia. While employees of the company from Spišská Nová Ves (Košice Region) became volunteers about 10 years ago, it received the main prize Via Bona for a responsible large corporation in 2013.
Corruption still an issue
The World Economic Forum annually assesses the competitive landscape of 138 economies. While Slovakia ended 65th in the Global Competitiveness Index, up from 67th position one year ago, it is the second most corrupt country in Europe, the website of the Hospodárske Noviny daily points out. The conclusions of the Global Competitiveness Report 2016-2017 are based on surveys held among 15,000 leading managers from assessed countries collected between February and June of this year. The corruption index is based on answers to questions related to areas of diversion of public funds, public trust in politicians and irregular payments and bribes.
In Europe, Slovakia and the Ukraine share the second worst position in the corruption index where they both have a score of 2.72. Only one European country had a worse score – Moldova – 2.36. All other members of the Visegrad Group scored more: Hungary 3.16, which secured it 7th position. The Czech Republic with a score of 3.33 shares the 9th place with Albania. Poland is 14th with a score of 3.7. Finland was the 1st with a score of 6.3.
The country report for Slovakia shows that corruption, tax rates and inefficient government bureaucracy are the three most problematic factors for doing business in Slovakia.