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PH jumps 29 notches in World Bank’s latest ‘Doing Business’ ranking

/ 05:18 AM October 25, 2019

The Philippine government is rallying not only national agencies but also local governments in a bid to be among the top 40 percent of world’s economies in terms of ease in doing business.

Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez on Thursday said the DTI hoped to keep the momentum as the Philippines jumped 29 notches in World Bank’s yearly Doing Business Report, ranking 95th in the 2020 edition from 124th previously.

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Still, the country remains among the bottom half as this year’s report covers 190 economies around the globe.

The report, which was released on Thursday and which covered data from 2018-2019, found that the Philippines had improved in three areas—starting a business; dealing with construction permits; and protecting minority investors.

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In particular, the Philippines made starting a business easier by abolishing the minimum capital requirement for domestic firms.

The government also made dealing with construction permits easier by improving coordination and streamlining the process for obtaining an occupancy certificate.

Protection for minority investors was strengthened by requiring greater disclosure of transactions with interested parties and enhancing director liability for dealings with interested parties.

Further, the Philippines was among 42 economies that made it easier to do business in terms of at least three out of the 10 areas or criteria used in the report.

Lopez said the Philippines updated the World Bank on 53 reforms and data corrections related to the annual report.

He said the country improved in ranking partly thanks to efforts made after he and Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III last year challenged the 2018 report’s data which showed that the Philippines dropped 11 notches from 133th position.

“While no mention of this data challenge was made in the 2020 report, we are ‘relieved’ that a more realistic assessment of the Philippines’ credit information ecosystem has been reflected in the World Bank report,” he said.

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He added that the World Bank had accepted all 11 data corrections that the Philippines presented, and acknowledged accounts of nine out of 42 reforms.

“Much like a climb to Mount Everest, we need to prepare for the next base camp,” Lopez said. The target in the PDP for 2020 is top 40 percent, which would be rank 76 (at least).”

Malacañang said the improved rating was “a strong vote of confidence in President Duterte’s nononsense anti-red tape campaign.”

Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar, in a statement, attributed the improved ratings to “broad regulatory reforms such as the Ease of Doing Business Act signed by the President a year ago.”

He said he was confident the country would get even more improved results in the coming years as proof of the government’s commitment to implement reforms and give Filipinos a better life.

The Duterte administration’s economic team welcomed the Philippines’ 29-notch jump in the World Bank’s latest rankings for ease of doing business, saying they expected further improvements moving forward as more reforms got implemented.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto M. Pernia also cited the approval of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) law as among the reasons for the ratings improvement.

“Other reforms like rice tariffication also facilitated the way we trade,” added Pernia.

Dominguez  is optimistic the Philippines will further climb in the Washington-based multilateral lender’s annual “Doing Business” report given the recent signing into law of Republic Act (RA) No. 11057 or the Personal Property Security Act (PPSA).

“With the PPSA in place, MSMEs can register their movable assets such as inventory with the Land Registration Authority (LRA) and use those assets as collateral in accessing formal sources of financing. This is among the reforms we are pursuing to further improve our business climate and empower small entrepreneurs,” Dominguez said in a statement.

The PPSA’s implementing rules and regulations will take effect “soon,” he said, adding that it “was among the reforms presented to the World Bank’s Doing Business team for the 2020 report, but the law’s IRR were yet to be completed at the time of submission.” —WITH REPORTS FROM BEN O. DE VERA AND JULIE M. AURELIO

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TAGS: ‘Doing Business’ ranking, Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez, World Bank
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