Philippines eyes better ease of doing business ranking

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines is pushing for more regulatory reforms in a bid to improve in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business rankings, according to the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters on Tuesday, April 16, that they have already accomplished 33 out of 43 planned reforms to streamline business regulations in the country.

"We have submitted this to the World Bank so that hopefully it will be given credit and our ranking will improve in the Ease of Doing Business report coming out this year," he added in a mix of English and Filipino.

With the World Bank already conducting the survey, Lopez said they are confident that over 20 reforms will be credited. The added reforms could bump up the country's ranking above 95th, which would be its highest so far.

"I would say 90 to 94 would be a good number [for our next rank].... 89 to 94 'yung range kung ma-credit ang lahat ng gusto nating ma-credit (would be the range if everything we want credited will be credited)," he said.

Should only 25 to 28 reforms get credited, this would still assure the Philippines of a ranking higher than 95th, according to Lopez.

The Philippines ranked 124th out of 190 economies in the World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business report. The government contested this, claiming that the World Bank did not include new reforms in the tally. (READ: [ANALYSIS] Ease of doing business: Why is the PH rank plummeting?)

With the signing of a memorandum of understanding between the Quezon City government, the Land Registration Authority, and utility firms, Lopez said this may bring up the country's chances of having an improved ranking.

Quezon City is used by the World Bank for its survey as it is the largest Philippine city in terms of population and has the highest count of business registrations.

According to the DTI, other local government units have also implemented ways to streamline the processing of business requirements. (READ: Business permits, licenses out in 2 days under gov't order to LGUs)

"If you ask them, they're able to give them (businesses) a mayor's permit in 30 minutes. 'Yung iba (Some are) automated: go to Valenzuela, Ormoc, Batangas City, San Fernando City, Zamboanga City. Kanya-kanyang pabilisan (They have their own means of doing things quickly)," Lopez added. –