‘Fasttrack reforms on competitiveness’

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    The Philippines’ competitiveness reforms must keep pace with the rest of the world to improve its ranking, according to Ramon Lopez, secretary of the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).

    Lopez said the country has to redefine its National Competitiveness Agenda consistent with the indicators of the World Economic Forum (WEF) whose Global Competitiveness Report for 2019 showed the Philippines dropped to 64th from 56th out of 141 countries.

    Lopez identified the WEF indicators where the Philippines needs to catch up are on enabling environment, human capital, markets, and innovation ecosystem, as well as the four pillars of DTI’s Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI) on economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resilience.

    “Reforms have to be sustained to always make the country move forward relative to others,” Lopez said in a statement released on Wednesday.

    Lopez is banking on the impact of Republic Act 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, the Philippine Innovation Act, and the Innovative Start-up Act in moving up the rankings particularly in the ICT adoption where the country sank to 88th from 67th.

    These laws, he said, should result to even higher ranking in the succeeding cycles of the WEF report.

    Lopez said the government is also updating the Philippine eCommerce roadmap to maximize the potential of electronic commerce.

    “The (ranking) in ICT adoption is expected to rebound with the implementation of the EODB Act mandating government automation in frontline services,” he said.

    DTI recently issued a department order stating the DTI Policy on National Competitiveness anchored on Regional Competitiveness. The DTI Competitiveness and Innovation Group has been directed to develop a competitiveness agenda guided by global competitiveness indices.

    The Philippines’ score — or its distance to frontier– was relatively flat at 61.9 from 62.1, while other countries scored better and improved their ranking relative to Philippines.