Friday, 12 November 2010

Costa Rica Ranked not so good on "ease of doing business

A short summary of the rankings . . .
116th ease of starting a business here aprox wait 60 days
131th getting a building permit take 23 procedures and 191 days!
167th in protecting it's investors!!!
Singapore, Hong Kong, New Zealand, U.K., Denmark and Canada were the top 7

72nd place was panama
117th place nicaragua

So the survey concludes Costa Rica can be a bit of a challenge to do business in.

We have no idea how they came up with the numbers so we decided to take a shot at counting a small part of the process of getting a building permit.  The part is the one where you need to go and retrieve your building map from the "registro" (the place that keeps track of buildings, titles etc) so you can get a permit for the map alteration from the "muni" (the municipality).

I'm pretty sure a building permit doesn't take 23 tramites - it either takes more or less. We started trying to do one about 3 weeks ago (see my other posting today) and still haven't really nailed everything down for the APPLICATION . . . we were told this was a minor permit so it would be a fast track and take a week to get a PERMIT and practically speaking 4 weeks later we are no closer to getting it done.

You need to temper that bit of data with another factoid . . . we are not that interested in getting it done either so it really is of no bother.

As far as counting procedures, JUST the activity at the registro took us the following:

1) Meet the gatekeeper/triage desk who sends EVERYONE to the Stamp line.
2) Go to stamp line, pay for stamps. We needed 6.
3) Observe signs all over registro "No More then 5 Items Will Be Processed" and choose to ignore signs
4) Go to line for the "numero de finca" computer and get your number for the stamp forms acquired in Item 2.
5) Go back to Triage Desk to see how to fill in the Stamp forms (they call them Stamps but they are really forms which is why we had a hard time filling in a "stamp").
6) Get in the really long line to get your maps.

If you send 2 people to the registro you can cut the time in 1/2 by strategically putting one person in the really long line while the other does the rest.

If you send 3 people for the minor fast track permit map acquisition you could cut the time by maybe another 10% because the woman at the numero de finca computer is pretty sharp. Not much gain in this instance but see below if you are unfortunate enough to have 6 items.

If you need 5 stamps and send 2 or 3 people you will be in good shape if you use the Rohrmoser office but no amount of people can crack the Alajuela line.

I'm pretty sure the 5 stamp limit was to avoid people standing in line too long and yelling at citizens with too many tramites. The problem is a tramite in this case has a fixed number - so if you need 6 like we did you have 3 choices:

1) ignore the HUGE signs saying don't do it,
2) send a second person into line (now you need 3 people to do the registro for optimal timing or 4 for fastest possible) or
3) once you have finished the long line and got 5 done go back to the back of the line for the 1 you couldn't get done.

Observer of Tramites