A Belgian Eye – Episode 118

Our resident Belgian Philippe Persoons takes a look at lifr through A Belgian Eye.

This week Philippe turns his attention to the Belgian economy, It’s more than hospitality and tourism you know

The Belgian economy is growing! Yes, we did suffer from the Brussels attacks, but Belgium is more than hospitality and tourism and it is our general economy that is improving. Investments are back to pre-crisis levels and companies are no longer losing jobs.

That is the good news that the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium brought us this week. Also the IMD confirms it. As every year, the IMD, the Swiss management institute, published its annual report on competitiveness (WCY). An analysis of 60 countries in the world, based on over 300 indicators. And … Belgium continued to grow and has gained this year, up from twenty eighth place in 2014 to twenty second in 2016, it’s our best score in years.

The most substantial improvement came from wage moderation; our country rose in terms of evolution of labour costs from thirtieth position last year to twelfth.

Public finances and Fiscal policy are still an issue, but some improvements are notable.

Business creation is better supported by legislation (from forty first to thirty sixth place). Investment in R&D has also progressed well, especially thanks to business, and employee training. It has become a top priority for our companies.

Despite this positive assessment, it is important to point out investments. Belgian investments abroad as foreign investment in Belgium have decreased. We must therefore remedy this by improving our attractiveness abroad, continuing reforms on wage moderation and working in particular to a decline in corporate tax. Our image, heavily dented in recent times should also be a priority.

Why am I telling this? Because I’m in business and I tend to hear the opposite. Yes, government took some measures but was it all enough? I don’t really feel it in my pocket and a I still hear a lot of my partners complaining. There’s no sales, people don’t dare to buy, to invest. Then again my world has more to do with the smaller SME’s. And yes the sun always shines first on top of the three.

We can only hope that the message is right and that Belgium is really doing a good job. Let’s hope that we can spread the word and let’s hope we’ll soon begin with spreading it with ourselves.

So let’s stop striking, quarrelling and arguing. Let’s play politics the common way, and let’s start the job. For everything is fine and everything is alright.

At least, that’s what I hope.

Have a nice day.