PH aims for 35 notches up in IFC ranking (Manila Bulletin)

The National Competitiveness Council sees the country’s global competitiveness in the “Ease of doing business” survey improving between 25 to 35 notches for a global ranking of 78 from 108 and top 4 in ASEAN from 6 in the previous ranking despite a gaping for the crafting of quality regulations.

NCC private sector co-chairman Guillermo N. Luz told reporters at the second “Ease of Doing Business Summit” in Makati the country is on track of its goal to be in the top third from the current mid-third among 189 countries in the World Bank-IFC-Ease of Doing Business, a global competitiveness survey that rank countries based on certain processes of doing business. The next WB-IFC Ease of Doing Business report for 2015 is coming out on October 14 this year.

Already, the NCC has already completed its documentation in time for the June 1 deadline of the survey.

According to Luz, reforms have been implemented together with the public and private sector Task Force to ensure the country’s competitiveness move up the ladder and meet its target.

For this year, the Task Force has pledged to deliver the following improvements in the ten processes measured in the report to streamline business processes in the country.

These are a reduction in time to start a business from 15 steps and 35 days to 8 steps and 8 days; a construction permit from 25 steps and 77 days to 14 steps and 65 days; electricity connection from 5 steps and 42 days to 4 steps and 32 days; transfer and register property from 8 steps and 39 days to 7 steps and 16 days; an increase in score on the strength of legal rights to protect borrowers and lenders from 4 to 10 out of 10; increase in scores measuring minority shareholder protection against the misconduct of a director from 2 to 7 out of 10 on disclosure, 3 to 9 out of 10 on director liability and 8 to 10 out of 10 on shareholder suits.

Other commitments include a reduction in tax and contribution payments required from 36 to 13 per year, export documents to 4 days from 6 and 9 days from 15 days; 7 days from 9 and 4 documents from 7 for import goods processing;  enforcement of commercial contracts in court from 37 and 842 days to 30 steps and 360 days; and increase in the recovery rate of insolvency proceedings from 29.9 to 42.4 cents per dollar.

IFC Resident Representative Jesse Ang, in a speech commended the Philippines for being the most improved in the last report among 189 countries moving up 30 places, but said there also a need to go into the legislative matter as some of the processes to improve ease of doing business can only be remedied through the enactments or amendment of certain laws.

According to Ang, the low hanging fruits have been tackled already so this is now the time to tackle the legislative reforms.

“We have to look at the quality of regulations not just regulations,” he said.

He cited the issue of power cost and land transfer processes, which can be addressed through some legislations or amendment to existing laws.

“Costly regulations inhibit growth of business,” Ang said.

To improve on some regulations like the reduction of incorporators from 5 to 1, Luz said this can be done via executive order, department order or circulars and local city ordinance but the best way would be through passing some legislations although this will take longer.

On paying taxes, he said, the NCC is trying to put online the PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG for their contributions.

Other processes that need congressional action include e-notarization, property registration, credit information, and credit rating.

In addition to further streamlining, the NCC has also urged for more aggressive promotion of existing government services such as express registration the Green Lane Unit of the Securities and Exchange Commission and electronic payments for the PhilHealth and Pag-IBIG contributions.

On the local government side, the NCC has recommended the amendment of Executive Order No. 17-A creating a one-stop shop for the processing of building permits in Quezon City, the local government unit measured by the Doing Business Report, to include warehouses. Practice in Quezon City serves as the prototype for other local government units.

Quezon City has been the Philippine city chosen by the report for its survey because it has the most number of SMEs in the country. (BCM)

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