Phl expected to improve ease of doing business

MANILA, Philippines -  The Philippines is expected to post an improvement in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” report this year but will likely fall short of cracking the top third of the global rankings, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez said.

 Lopez, who co-chairs the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), said the country can expect a modest two to five notches improvement in the ease of doing business survey this year after ranking 99th in last year’s edition.

The NCC’s immediate goal is for the country to be part of the top third of the rankings, placing from anywhere between 58th and 63rd.

“For the ease of doing business, we are targeting from a rank of 99, we want to reach about a level of 58 to 63 by really cutting down the burden, the number of steps, and the number of days in starting a business,” Lopez said.

“This, however, will not be attained this year yet as the reforms of shortening the process of starting a business are ongoing. But we can expect an improvement in the rankings, nonetheless,” he said.

For renewal of business permit, the government is seeking to reduce the processing period to one day, while that for new business permit will be cut to two days.

According to the World Bank last year, it takes 28 days to start a business in the Philippines, compared to 21 days on average at the global level.

“Overall, we plan to reduce the steps and time in business permits and Bureau of Internal Revenue registration. At present it has 16 steps and we plan to reduce it to six steps. The 28 days we will cut it to eight days,” Lopez said.

The “Doing Business” report is an annual publication of the World Bank reviewing the regulations that enhance business activity and those that constrain it among economies worldwide.

The Philippines climbed four notches in the Doing Business report released in October last year, from 103rd in 2015 to 99th out of 190 economies in 2016.

The Philippines has improved the transparency of building regulations. It has also made paying taxes easier by introducing an online system for filing and paying health contributions, and by allowing for online corporate income tax and VAT returns to be completed offline.

Challenges, however, remain in the areas of starting a business, protecting minority investors, and enforcing contracts.


 (The Philippine Star)