Easier to do business under Arroyo than Aquino?

Katherine Visconti
The Philippines drops two places to rank 136th for ease of doing business between June 2010 to May 2011, a period almost completely under the Aquino administration, save 30 days.

It has become harder to do business in the Philippines during the first year of the Aquino administration according to a World Bank report released today.

Benigno Aquino and Gloria Arroyo

Between June 2009 and May 2010, under the Arroyo administration, the country ranked 134th for ease of doing business. The subsequent year, almost completely under the Aquino administration (save 30 days), the country fell to 136th.

In both cases the Philippines sat in the bottom third of the 183 economies ranked by World Bank.

World Bank yearly rates economies on 10 areas of business regulation, such as starting a business, trading across borders and getting electricity.

How does the Philippines measure up?

• One of the Philippines lowest rankings was in starting a business. It came in at 158th, in the bottom 15%, far below Pakistan, Iran and Nicaragua. Whereas it was 156th under Arroyo.

• The country ranked in the bottom 50% for registering property, getting credit and enforcing contracts.

• Although there was an absolute increase of .7% in the cost of all taxes a business bears, other countries made more progress in tax payment, a category where the Philippines dropped in a year from 124th to 136th.

• The country did make some headway in dealing with construction permits, coming in with the top 65% this year after being on the cusp of the lowest 15% last year. Last year’s report published during the Arroyo regime, actually cites the Philippines as making construction permitting more cumbersome due to updated electricity connection costs.

So while the country is making headway in some areas, other countries seem to be climbing the ranks faster.

Morocco, Colombia, Sierra Leone and Burundi were all recognized for having improved their ease of doing business across multiple areas of regulation. The Republic of Korea was highlighted for making it into the top 10 countries for ease of doing business.

Worldwide, 13% more regulatory reforms were enacted. The Philippines was recognized for 1 reform while other countries made many more, such as Armenia which instituted 5. In the world race of global economies, President Aquino may have to speed ahead to make progress.