Cut red tape, speed up paperwork (Cebu Daily News)

Cebu business leaders and public officials were urged to improve  at least 10 crucial areas to upgrade the country’s business competitiveness by 2014.

“Cebu can very well benefit for a positive ranking that could impact the overall economy of the country,” said  Guillermo “Bill” Luz,  National Competitiveness Council co-chairman, in a forum last week in Cebu City.

The  “Ease of Doing Business Report“ was released by the World Bank last week.

“Most of these areas involve many steps and processes. We can start by cutting  red tape and make processing easier and faster,” said Luz.

Starting a  business, for example,  requires 16 procedures to be done over 36 days in the Philippines.

In Singapore, it takes only three procedures for only three days.

Luz suggested reducing the proccess to three steps over  six days and  implementing  online business registration,  which has already started on a small scale.

The government can also consider removing the minimum paid in capital  requirement for  investors, said Luz.

If the  country can carry out  reforms in all 10 areas moderately by July 1 next year, the Philippines can expect its  ranking to go higher to 109 or 27 notches up, he said.

This can improve to rank 38 if  all recommendations are carried out in the  four big impact indicators – starting a business, getting credit, protecting investors and resolving insolvency, said Luz.

In the World Bank study,  the Philippines improved  its ranking by one to three notches  in  dealing with construction permits, trading across borders and resolving insolvency.

The biggest decline  was registered in paying taxes,  falling seven notches from 136 in 2012 to 143 as of October this year.

That was  followed by getting electricity (down four notches), protecting investors (down four notches) and starting a business (down three notches).

Luz said the NCC has  a game plan to increase the  Philippines ranking by at least 27 notches by 2014.

Luz said the strategy to improve involves steps in starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credits, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Luz said the country would need to implement reforms in all these 10 areas.

In Cebu where the private sector is very active, Luz urged businessmen to study how  Singapore and Hong Kong  operates adapt ways to “localize” their best practices.

“We also need your help in analyzing the procedures we want to improve more in the business process like starting a business, which  involves both national and local government. We want to understand the procedures and put in place recommend how to improve the link between e government offices for better coordination,” said Luz.

According to Luz, the private sector  should “pay it forward and be proactive” since it will only benefit them in the long run.

Businessmen attending the forum welcomed the suggestions of NCC.

Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Prudencio Gesta said collaboration between  the private sector and  government is key and can be promoted through  chambers and other business clubs.

original source: