Gov’t system, red tape impede Phl growth rate (

CEBU, Philippines - The kind of government system and the issue on red tape are two major setbacks the Philippines need to address to push its growth rates beyond its competitors.

This according to Guillermo Luz, private sector co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, who emphasized stakeholders from government and private sector have to move to solve problems more quickly.

“That is our biggest handicap,” Luz claimed, referring to the country’s lack of promptness in addressing key issues.

NCC, a public-private sector body, has put in projects to streamline certain procedures for issuing permits and licenses -- starting a business or incorporation, local business permits, etc. -- in selected government agencies and local government units, he said.


Luz said good governance really matters in bringing out improvements and that “work in progress” is not good enough, pointing out execution and delivery are what this country need.

The NCC, in its year-end statement, said the country has seemed declining on indicators evaluating government effectiveness and that efforts to deliver public services better to the people must be renewed.

“Being competitive starts with your frame of mind. We must want to improve ourselves and get better. This means we must set standards for the country and tirelessly work to achieve them,” the co-chairman told The FREEMAN.

“We have begun to lay the groundwork on certain projects that will institutionalize good governance practices,” it said.

The council has started the Islands of Good Governance campaign with the Institute of Solidarity in Asia to subject government agencies to external audits.

It also noted “certain policies at the national, departmental and local levels have made it difficult to reduce the cost of compliance and enforcement and consequently hinder efficient public service delivery.”


Despite some challenges, Luz said the country has had “a pretty good year” in its effort to step up its competitiveness ranking in various areas of the economy.

He cited the Philippines has kept the momentum in registering gains in seven out of 12 global competitiveness reports over the last three to four years. The country has noted some setbacks in the other five reports.

“In some cases -- such as World Economic Forum, World Bank-IFC and Transparency International -- we have been the most-improved country in the world,” he explained.

“From a competitiveness point of view, we rank 5th in ASEAN versus about 8th years ago. That is a big improvement but more needs to be done,” he said.

The nation is eyeing to in the top-third of global rankings by 2016 from its  starting point in the bottom-third of the tables three years ago, he added.

“I think that greater focus and teamwork from among government agencies and the private sector has led to greater competitiveness,” he said.

The NCC official further mentioned the lessons learned people from government and private sector should remember.

These include the idea that competition never sleeps as the bar always rises, speed-to-reform should be the new mantra, maintain momentum and change should be embedded and institutionalized.

By: Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman)