PH slips 11 notches in World Bank's ease of doing business ranking

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines slid 11 notches in the World Bank's 2019 Ease of Doing Business report.

The report said the Philippines placed 124th out of 190 economies, largely due to higher business registration costs and the lag in inspecting imported goods.

The Philippines ranked poorly in getting credit (184th), starting a business (166th), enforcing contracts (151st) and trading across borders (104th). (ANALYSIS: The real score on foreign direct investments)

While the country’s overall score improved to 57.68 in 2019 from 56.32 in 2018, other economies have improved as well and outpaced the Philippines.

The World Bank noted that the Philippines was able to strengthen the protection for minority investors in major corporations and clarified ownership and control structures. Moreover, the tax registration and business licensing processes were simplified. (READ: Duterte signs Ease of Doing Business Act)

Strong objections

The Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) expressed their “strong objections” to the findings and asked the World Bank to review the rating.

The agencies even asked the World Bank to immediately “correct” the “inaccurate and understated findings,” particularly in the credit indicator of the report.

"This correction should be done soon as the Report could unduly compromise the Philippines’ standing among the investment community and negatively impact the country’s development, considering that this document is widely used as a reference by investors and survey organizations,” the joint statement said.

The slide in the rankings was attributed mainly to the country’s "Getting Credit" indicator where the ease of doing business score plunged from 30 to 5.

The DOF and DTI said the World Bank’s survey team was unable to correct the information on the country’s credit information database.

“As a result, the country registered a substantial decrease in the credit bureau coverage (from 8 in 2018 to 2.7 in 2019), and reduced scores on depth of credit information (from 5 to 0),” the agencies said.

Globally, New Zealand topped the list with an overall score of 86.59.

The rest of the top 10 performers are Singapore (85.24), Denmark (84.64), Hong Kong (84.22), Korea (84.14), Georgia (83.28), United States (82.75), United Kingdom (82.65), and Macedonia (81.55). 

The bottom 5 are Libya (33.44), Yemen (32.41), Venezuela (30.61), Eritrea (23.07), and Somalia (20.04). –

Ralf Rivas

A sociologist by heart, a journalist by profession. Ralf is Rappler's business reporter, covering macroeconomy, government finance, companies, and agriculture.