MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – The government is hopeful that reforms it implemented to improve the business climate in the country will boost its ranking in a global competitiveness survey.
Guillermo Luz, co-chair of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), said they expect improvement in the Philippines’ ranking in the Ease of Doing Business Report of the World Bank’s private sector lending arm International Finance Corp. (IFC).
This year’s report will come out in October. In 2012, the Philippines ranked 138th out of 185 economies in the survey, which measures conduciveness of the regulatory environment for starting and operating a business.
The Philippines ranked second least competitive in the region, after Laos. Singapore was the most competitive.
“Ease of Doing Business report is the global survey where the Philippines has not improved in the last 3 years,” Luz said in a joint press conference with the Department of Trade and Industry Thursday, September 19.
Luz said reforms have been put in place to boost the Philippines’ ranking.
“We deserve an increase of 20 to 25 notches,” he said.
The government aims to be in the top 60 by 2016. “We need to make big jumps,” Luz stressed.
Improved business processes
Major reforms in the 10 indicators being measured in the IFC report have been in place since June.
NCC announced the following indicators and their improvement:
- Starting a business – Reduced from 16 steps and 36 days to 11 steps and 11 days
- Dealing with construction permits – Reduced from 29 steps and 84 days to 17 steps and 61 days
- Getting electricity – Reduced from 5 steps and 50 days to 4 steps and 36 days
- Registering property – Reduced from 39 days to 23 days
- Getting credit – Measured through depth of Credit Index 0-6 and strength of Legal Rights Index from 0-10, respectively: from 3 to 5 and from 4 to 9
- Protecting investors – Measured through Extent of Disclosure Index: an increase from 2 to 7; Extent of Director Liability Index: an increase from 3 to 9; and Ease of Shareholder Suits Index – an increase from 8 to 10
- Paying of taxes – number of payments: from 47 to 14
- Trading across borders – Documents to export: reduced from 7 to 5; documents to import: reduced from 8 to 6; days to import: reduced from 14 to 12
Major reforms in enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency indicators have yet to be strengthened.
“Reforms in enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency remain slow and we need to focus on that,” Luz said.
Reforms should translate to higher rankings
Given the major reforms in most indicators, Luz highlighted that the country should rank well in the report this year.
He however admitted that these reforms may not be sufficient to move the Philippines to 20 to 25 ranks higher.
“We deserve an increase of 20 to 25 notches in the rankings given the reforms. But we don’t know how other countries have improved, “ Luz said.
For his part, NCC director for operations Ruy Moreno said that “IFC tends to underappreciate our reforms and processes.” – with reports from Cherrie Regalado, Rappler.com