Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Doing biz in Spain; Compulsory Religion? Corruption 1 and 2; The Property market; Honda; and Ship sex.

Every year there's an World Bank survey on doing business around the world. Spain never does particularly well in these. In the latest exercise, for example, it ranks 142 out of 189 countries on the criterion of 'Ease of setting up a business'. This is even though the number of days this takes has fallen from 28 to 23 days. This is below, would you believe, Kazakhstan and Rwanda. Overall, Spain has fallen to 52nd place as regards Doing Business, a disappointing 8 places lower than last year's survey. All of which rather endorses my frequent refrain that, though I love living in Spain, I couldn't be in business here. I had enough frustration in Iran and Indonesia to last me a lifetime.

I mentioned yesterday the Catholic Church's success in getting the 'conservative' PP government to reverse some of the policies implemented by the previous 'socialist' PSOE administration. Flushed with success, the Church is now demanding that Religion should not only be a full Bachillerato subject but compulsory as well. It's a racing certainty that the majority of Spain's population would be against this - as it would take time from vastly more important subjects - so it'll be interesting to see how the government responds. I suspect there's be some foot-dragging.

Corruption 1: You'll recall that one of the King's daughters has not yet joined her husband in the dock around the diversion of public funds into a sham company (Aizoon), en route to their bank accounts. In part this is thanks to the efforts of the Public Prosecutor (a government appointee) to stop the investigating judge arraigning her. But now comes another example of skulduggery and the question of her guilt and prosecution has again raised its head. It seems she was party to a contract of office rental, both as owner and tenant. This ruse artificially lowered the earnings of Aizoon, reducing its tax bills. Strangely, it's the right-of-centre El Mundo which has revealed this stuff. Does the Establishment now feel her time is up?

Corruption 2: The mayor of the small town of Barbadás here in Galicia is having his day in court, responding to the question of how he managed to pay €650,000 in cash to a single developer for 8 flats. His explanation for this will be of interest, as will that of why his company and the developer's shared an office down in Portugal.

Talking of properties - the national overhang is now said to number at least 800,000. Sales are still taking place but the impact of these is reduced by the fact that new properties are still coming onto the market 5 years after the boom peaked. This is because, as with those behind my house, it can take more than 5 years to build properties here. Though the average may be around 2 years, at a guess. Anyway, the government is now said to be considering the option of demolishing properties, as in the USA and Ireland. But will they finish them first?

The majority of the Spanish Cabinet members graduated as lawyers. The interesting thing about this is that, whereas lawyers rank high in Anglo Saxon cultures, they fall below notaries and even property registrars here in Spain. Indeed, they rank below most other occupations, as evidenced by the low marks in the Selectividad exam demanded for entry into law faculties. Sr Rajoy is both a notary and a property registrar. This possibly explains why he's so boring but also suggests he's quite bright. As for his cabinet colleagues . . . probably not. But they do have good connections.

I moaned about the poor service of Honda's local agent the other day. This morning came some sort of explanation from Honda; the company is no longer their agent. Honda have been kind enough to give me the details of their agents in other Galician cities, the nearest of which, Vigo, is around 30km from here and so is a fat lot of use to me. I guess the only questions now are whether the ex-agent is still a going concern and whether they will still competently service my car. Isn't life a bitch? And arbitrary. In some countries more than others.

Finally . . . Life is also full of surprises; It turns out the young Moldovan friend of the captain of the ill-fated Concordia was his sleeping partner after all. Who'd have guessed it?

1 comment:

Perry said...

Colin,

According to the CIA in 1974, Nikita Kruschev was removed from power because Russians were starving, due to climate change starting in 1960.

http://www.climatemonitor.it/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/1974.pdf

Wikipedia got that wrong then!!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khruschev#Removal

Cordially

Perry

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