Council to draw up plan making PHL more competitive

After the Philippines was adjudged as one of the worst places in the world  to do business in by global ratings agencies, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) recently summoned captains of industry to help it draw up a practical plan, complete with doable programs, to make the country more competitive.

A rethinking of a competitiveness plan for the Philippines was called by NCC on the heels of a report made by the International Finance Corp., the investment arm of the World Bank, that the Philippines had slid down to become one of the worst places to do business in the whole world.

In the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) region, it was second to the last in ranking, beating only Laos.  Most members of the economic bloc had improved their ratings to the first 50 economies where doing business is easiest, with Singapore landing in the top five countries where doing business is easiest. The Asean  also groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

The plan, according to minutes of a special meeting called by Guillermo Luz, NCC private sector co-chairman, is to involve leaders of the business community in drawing it up and targeting its completion this year.

It was further targeted that specific programs, supported with government and private-sector funds, will already be in full implementation when the Philippines will host the Asean Economic Summit in November 2015.

All  programs to be included in the proposed plan will be regularly monitored to find out how far government agencies and their partners in the business sector have gone in executing them.

Pointed out as the country’s Achilles’s heel during a consultation meeting with business leaders, led by Jaime Zobel de Ayala, is the tedious system of processing business papers from registering a new business to getting permits and clearances where the Philippines was found to have the record of taking  too long a time and requiring too many signatures.

Getting all the needed papers to start a business in the Philippines takes up to three months, a statement released by the Philippine Exporters Confederation Inc. said.

Luz said the strategic plan must only pick a few industries with high growth potentials chosen by the business leaders to lead the competiveness drive, like tourism, to give the plan more focus. Trade Undersecretary Adrian Cristobal Jr., however, disagreed. He pointed out that before the end of last year, up to 15 out of 50 strategic industries in the country have drafted their  own road-map plans to lift the Philippines to industrialized status.

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