PH moves up in ease of doing biz

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    The Philippines targets to move up to 70th in its rank in ease of doing business (EODB) globally next year , well-placed to be among the 40 percentile of countries in EODB and surpassing its Asean neighbors.

    This is the fighting target of the Department of Trade and Industry for the 2021 cycle of the World Bank Doing Business after moving up 29 notches to 95th from 124th among 190 countries in the 2020 report released yesterday.

    This is at mid-point of the rankings, slightly off the target of being in the top 50 percent of countries on EODB .

    Ramon Lopez, DTI secretary, however, cited the need to move fast on some reforms, particularly in the starting a business factor where the Philippines continues to be a laggard, placing 171st from 166th last year.

    Lopez said the priority to roll out the Philippine Business Portal an online portal using one form, one number for end-to-end mobile registration.

    “Going automated is the way to go,” Lopez told a press conference.

    From 2011, the Philippines dropped 15 notches in starting a business, which is first step of any company or entrepreneur has to go through in investing.

    The Philippines’  overall EODB score went up 5.12 points from 57.68 to 62.8 .

    It also registered the third biggest jump in terms of rank , next only to Togo (+40), and Saudi rabia (+30), and the same spot with Jordan which also increased by 29 notches.

    The last time the Philippines ranked 95th — the highest spot we held, so far—-was in the year 2014.  This DB 2020 cycle increase remains the highest recorded (annual) improvement of the country since 2010.

    But the Philippines lagged at 7th among the 10 Asean countries although it recorded the highest improvement in the region, both in rank and EODB score. The country is eclipsed by Singapore which ranked second overall; Malaysia, 12th; Thailand, 21st; Brunei, 66th , Vietnam, 70th and; Indonesia, 73rd.

    Lopez said for this cycle, the Philippines submitted 53 reforms as well asdata correction requests to the World Bank. All 11 data correction requests were considered but only nine of the 42 reforms were accepted.

    The Philippines performed best in terms of ranking in construction permits (from 94th to 85th, with EODB score of 70, up from 68.6); protecting minority investors (132nd to 72nd, with EODB score of 60 from 43.3) and getting credit (from 184th to 132nd; with EODB score of 40 from 5).

    The WB took note of the abolition of the minimum capital requirement for domestic companies and the improved coordination and streamlines process of obtaining construction permits, occupancy certificates and the like.

    The Philippines fell in rankings in starting a business, getting electricity, registering property, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency.

    Lopez said the strong objection of the Philippines on the drastic slide in the 2019 DB report which showed a drop in the ranking by 11 notches from 113 (2018) to 124 (2019) bore fruit.

    “We are relieved that a more realistic assessment of the Philippines’ credit information ecosystem has been reflected in the World Bank report.  The Philippines’ rank in getting credit rose from 184 out of 190 countries to 132 out of 190, increasing by 52 notches,” he said.

    Lopez said the passage of the Republic Act (RA) No. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act last year, and the establishment of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) this year will show investors the commitment to facilitate investments.

    Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III shared Lopez’ optimism of further raising next year its already much-improved ranking once a new law expanding the access of  micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to lending facilities is fully implemented.

    Dominguez said RA 11057 or the Personal Property Security Act (PPSA) will help propel the Philippines to a higher ranking in the Doing Business 2021 report with the law’s implementing rules and regulations soon to take effect.

    “With the PPSA in place, MSMEs can register their movable assets such as inventory with the Land Registration Authority and use those assets as collateral in accessing formal sources of financing,” Dominguez said.

    This is among the reforms the government is pursuing to further improve business climate.

    Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said the improved ranking is a “strong vote of confidence towards President Duterte’s no-nonsense approach in wiping out red tape and removing opportunities for corruption.”

    Andanar said the improvement is due to “broad regulatory reforms such as the Ease of Doing Business Act signed by the President over a year ago.”