NCC targets improvement in competitiveness

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) targets a big improvement in the country’s competitiveness after slipping in the International Finance Corp. (IFC) and the World Bank’s "Doing Business" rankings.

"We are hopeful we can achieve an increase in our ranking," said Guillermo M. Luz, private sector co-chairman of the NCC during a dialogue with stakeholders yesterday.

"There is no reason for us not to meet our goal."

The NCC is targeting a leap to 109th place in the "Doing Business" for 2014 after the country slid to 138th (out of 185 economies) from 136th in the "Doing Business" for 2013.

Its plan of action involves principally reducing the time needed to get permits and streamlining procedures.

Other initiatives require legislative action. These include the removal of the minimum paid-in capital for corporations, a review of the laws on the protection of creditors’ legal rights and a review of the Corporation Code.

"There is a timing issue for legislative matters because of the elections and we are unsure of the calendar of the lawmakers but we don’t expect this to hamper us. We will start contacting people to help reduce the steps needed to get permits as well as other needed reforms after Christmas," Mr. Luz said.

The NCC will also prepare a list of needed measures that it will present to lawmakers.

Among 10 variables reviewed by the IFC and the World Bank, the Philippines scored poorly in seven in the "Doing Business" for 2013.

In "starting a business," the country fell to 161st from 158th, with the number of procedures required to start a business increasing to 16 from 15 and the time needed to complete them rising to 36 days from 35 days.

In "getting electricity" the Philippines fell to 57 from 53; "registering property," to 122 from 120; "getting credit," to 129 from 127, "protecting investors" to 128 from 124; and "paying taxes" to 143 from 136.

In "enforcing contracts," the Philippines slid to 111 from 109, given no improvement in the number of procedures and time to enforce contracts.

The Philippines, however, climbed in "trading across borders" (53 from 56), "resolving insolvency" (165 from 166) and "dealing with construction permits" (100 from 101).

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