The Philippines improved its standing in seven of the eight major global competitiveness reports released in 2013—the first time that the country had recorded such significant gains, according to the National Competitiveness Council.
“Over the course of the last three years, we have made improvements in seven global competitiveness reports, from the World Economic Forum (WEF) Global Competitiveness Index to the International Finance Corp.’s Ease of Doing Report, IMD World Competitiveness Report, Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, and others,” said NCC private sector co-chair Guillermo Luz.
“When we started our work in 2011, our goal was to move from the bottom third of global rankings to the top third by 2016. A great deal of progress has been made in that regard. Now we have made it into the middle third of global tables and, in some cases, moved above the median,” he said.
Based on the data provided by the NCC, the Philippines overtook 30 countries in the IFC Ease of Doing Business report in 2013, compared to its standing in 2012. It rose by 12 notches in the Travel and Tourism report (by the WEF); by 11 notches in Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index; by 10 places in the Economic Freedom Index; by 5 notches in the IMD World Competitiveness Report; and five places in the Global Innovation Index.
The Philippines meanwhile held its ground in the Global IT Report.
“Much of these gains were the result of some new programs planned and installed over the last 12 to 18 months. For instance, we partnered with Social Weather Stations, Asia Foundation, AusAID, Integrity Initiative, Makati Business Club, and the Management Association of the Philippines to revive and continue the Annual Enterprise Survey on Corruption. This allowed us to closely track perceptions and experiences of corruption in key business areas. Tighter monitoring of local governments and regional offices of national government agencies has proven useful and enlightening,” Luz said.
“In May 2013, President Aquino created the Task Force on Ease of Doing Business to cut red tape in processes to start, operate, and close businesses in the country. The result was the 30-country jump in this key measure, the biggest improvement in the world in 2013. Our Gameplan 2.0 is now ready, and the government agencies are raring to go for another record jump for the Philippines,” he further said.
In 2013, NCC also launched the City/Municipality Competitiveness Index with the help of USAID and Project Invest. The project was kicked off by organizing 15 Regional Competitiveness committees across the country whose first project was to design the index and collect data.
Through the regional committees, data was collected on 285 cities and municipalities, which were were then ranked. The index basically measures economic dynamism, infrastructure, cost of doing business, and ease of doing business in the local government units.
“In 2014, we plan to expand that list to 550 cities and municipalities so businessmen will have basis for making decisions on where to locate their businesses. We have also worked closely with Microsoft and the World Wildlife Fund to expand the activities of the regional committees to include software applications for city management and disaster preparedness and response and climate change risk assessments,” Luz said.
“On top of these new projects, we continue to run our older projects such as the working groups, dialogues, customer satisfaction surveys, performance governance system, and field monitoring on business permits and licensing systems. We have added a new working group this year—agribusinesses and trade logistics—and will open up a new working group on manufacturing in 2014.”