A NEW GILDED AGE

Dominican Republic 2019 | ECONOMY | INTERVIEW

The single-tax system will go a long way to helping the Dominican Republic become a regional platform for the creation of new businesses, especially in technology and exports.

Guillermo Julián
BIOGRAPHY
After studying law at Universidad Iberoamericana (UNIBE), Guillermo Julián pursued an MBA at Barna Business School. Julian accumulated experience working in the Communication Department of INICIA, where he had to manage relations between the firm and different institutions. Julian served as Coordinator of the Binational Economic Council of Quisqueya, an initiative led by Haitian and Dominican entrepreneurs to promote development and mutual investments. In 2018 he was named president of the Asociación Nacional de Jóvenes Empresarios (ANJE).

What is the current state of the business climate in the country?

The business climate in the Dominican Republic is fairly stable. Within the region, the Dominican Republic has had sustained growth over the last decade. In 2018, the economy grew by 6.3%, the highest sustained growth of any country. Measures have also been taken to favor and encourage the creation of new businesses such as the Single Tax System, a simplified tax payment scheme for small businesses. ANJE has worked with the General Directorate of Internal Taxes and the Ministry of Industry and Commerce in the vice-presidency of MIPYMES. These measures facilitate the dynamism of microenterprises. Whereas before there were many bureaucratic obstacles and extremely long and expensive permitting processes for a start-up or company, the single tax system will reduce the whole process to merely once a year, allowing both entrepreneurs and microentrepreneurs to devote more time to their businesses. For this reason, the Dominican Republic could become a regional platform for the creation of new businesses especially in technology and exports.

What main problems does ANJE seek to tackle?

We have drawn up a management plan for 2019. Institutionalism is a transversal axis to all sectors of the economy to achieve a healthier business climate, greater transparency, and more legal security. We have made a series of agreements with other associations to carry out the management plans and worked with the National Council of Private Companies (CONEP) and the Foundation for Institutionality and Justice (FINJUS) on the specific issue of citizen security. ANJE and FINJUS worked on a project in 2017 related to climate of public insecurity and its costs for SMEs. We discovered how much it costs a micro and medium business to maintain security, and the replacement cost when a company is the victim of a crime or theft. These significantly affect cash flow and significantly hinder rapid growth.

How do you characterize the level of collaboration and understanding between the public and private sector?

We have developed a healthy relationship between the public and private sectors. Guilds like ANJE serve as a channel between its affiliated members and the private and public sector. The communication is fluid and transparent, and we are forming important agreements to continue developing the Dominican economy. There is a great deal of optimism for 2019. One exception is the national development strategy law, which mandates the signing of a fiscal pact. The fiscal pact was left on the table, and the government has already made it public that it will not be addressed in this management. Beyond that, the Dominican economy saw extremely positive growth in 2018 across all indicators and sectors such as tourism, trade, free zones, and exports. There will be sustained growth for 2019.

What are your upcoming priorities and objectives?

We are focused on generating institutionalization. We will continue to participate along with other business associations in spaces and tables of decision-making, such as the Economic and Social Council, where the electric and education pacts are being discussed. ANJE also participates with CONEP in the National Council of Magistrates, where high court judges' performances are evaluated. We play a fundamental role in the final process of selecting judges in the constitutional court. We are currently working with CONEP on the subject of judges in the Supreme Court of Justice. ANJE should play a role as a guild and an ideal channel between society, the government, and every actor involved in making decisions at the national level.