Lessons from Five Years of Helping Governments Foster Incentives Transparency
February 18, 2017 Editor 0
Global competition to attract foreign and domestic direct investment is so high that nearly all countries offer incentives (such as tax holidays, customs duty exemptions and subsidized loans) to lure in investors. In the European Union, the 28 member states spent 93.5 billion euros on non-crisis State Aid to businesses in 2014. In the United States, local governments provided and average of US$80.4 billion in incentives each year from 2007 to 2012.
In order to better understand the prevalence of incentives worldwide, the Investment Climate team in the Trade & Competitiveness Global Practice of the World Bank Group reviewed the incentives policy of 137 countries. Results showed that all of the countries that were surveyed provide incentives, either as tax or customs-duty exemptions or in other forms. Table 1 (below) shows the rate at which these instruments are used across advanced and emerging economies. For instance, tax holidays are least common in OECD countries and are most prevalent in developing economies. In some regions they are the most-used incentive.
However, despite offering incentives, few countries meet all the requirements of a fully transparent incentives policy. These include: mandating by law, and maintaining in practice, a database and inventory of incentives available to investors; listing in the inventory all aspects of key relevance to stakeholders (such as the specific incentive provided, the eligibility criteria, the awarding and administration process, the legal reference and the awarded amounts); making the inventory publicly available in a user-friendly format; requiring by law the publication of all formal references of incentives; and making the incentives easily accessible to stakeholders in practice. A T&C study now under way on incentives transparency in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region showed that none of the eight countries analyzed has a fully transparent incentives policy. (See Graph 1, below.)
- Comoros’ Next Chapter – Revitalizing Growth in a Post-Conflict Environment
- Partnering to Make Investment Climate Reforms Happen for Development
- Improving SME competitiveness: To target or not to target? What businesses, and how?
- A New Model to Chip Away at the Infrastructure Financing Gap: Brazil Leads the Way
- An investment ecosystem: Piecing together the interventions needed for a dynamic textile and apparel cluster in Kenya
- At the FCV Forum, a focus on jump-starting job creation: Boosting SMEs amid woes of Fragility, Conflict and Violence
Categories: World Bank PSD
Tags: Incentives Transparency
Subscribe to our stories
- Can Africa’s tech start-up scene rise to the next level? November 20, 2017
- Chocolate innovation: Sweet tooth hackers solve cocoa farmers’ challenges November 20, 2017
- A new generation of CEOs: Running a business in West Africa as a woman November 20, 2017
- Is crowdfunding the silver bullet to expanding innovation in the developing world? November 20, 2017
- Towards building an Entrepreneurship Ecosystem- Global Entrepreneurship Week and Freetown Pitch Night-The Role and Significance of the Freetown Pitch Night November 20, 2017