Belgium needs to increase public investment, foster competition in given sectors and work on boosting employment among certain target groups to spur its economic growth, which is below the euro-zone average, the OECD said in its latest Economic Outlook, issued on Wednesday. In 2018 and 2019, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) predicted, Belgium’s gross domestic product (GDP) will grow by 1.7%, which is the same as last year. It forecasted, however, that the euro-zone’s GDP, which grew by 2.5% last year, would increase by 2.2% this year and 2.1% in 2019.
The OECD recommends to the Belgian authorities to increase public investment, which it said has been low for decades, to boost productivity growth. Given the budgetary situation, such investment should be more than offset by reductions “in inefficient public spending, user fees or through tapping sources of private financing”.
The Paris-based international organisation also suggested increasing competition in services to export industries and simplifying administrative procedures and requirements for starting up businesses.
The OECD also recommended making growth “more inclusive” by increasing access to the labour market for immigrants, unskilled persons and older workers.
Finally, to spur growth, transport infrastructure around the main urban areas should be improved, toll gates increased, and tax breaks for company cars reduced.
The good news is, among other things, that the OECD expects unemployment to continue to decrease, as well as the public debt, which could be shrunk to 100% of GDP in 2019.