Philippines targets huge leap in Doing Business ranking
MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines could see its ranking move up to as high as 89th place in the World Bank’s Doing Business report to be released later this year given reforms undertaken to improve processes.
“We are looking at the 89 to 94 range, if everything we want to be credited would be credited [by the World Bank],” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters on the sidelines of the signing ceremony for three agreements by the local government of Quezon City (QC) with the Land Registration Authority (LRA), as well as with Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) and water concessionaires Maynilad Water Services Inc. and Manila Water Co. Inc. for improved processes in the release of certain permits.
He said the expected improvement in the ranking is based on the implementation of 33 out of 43 reforms the country wanted to have in place.
“Let’s say 25 to 28 reforms are credited out of 33 reforms we accomplished, based on the scoring, there is an upside of better than the 95[th ranking], which is our best score a couple of years ago,” he said.
He said the government is confident over 20 reforms would be taken into consideration in the World Bank survey as such have been in place for a long period of time.
Among the reforms expected to impact on the country’s ranking in the Doing Business report is the passage of the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, which removes the minimum paid-in capital requirement, promotes electronic filing of articles of incorporation and directs the Securities and Exchange Commission to issue rules and regulations to protect minority investors and improve corporate governance in accordance with international best practices.
While the latest Doing Business report released last year placed the Philippines on the 124th spot out of 190 economies, Lopez said the government recognizes the 113th spot the country got in the report released in 2017 as its latest ranking.
The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) and the Department of Finance have contested the country’s ranking last year, and called on the World Bank to review such amid concerns on the data and methodology used in arriving at the results of the survey.
The World Bank’s Doing Business report ranks economies based on the ease of doing business by looking at the following: starting a business; dealing with construction permits; getting electricity; registering property; getting credit; protecting minority investors; paying taxes; trading across borders; enforcing contracts; and resolving insolvency.
Lopez said the agreements signed by the local government of QC are also expected to help promote ease of doing business in the country.
In particular, the memorandum of understanding signed by the local government of QC with the LRA is seen to improve the process of issuance of certificates of title.
The MOU signed with Meralco meanwhile, is intended to improve the process for the application of excavation permits, and the MOU entered into with Maynilad and Manila Water is aimed at implementing a modernized process for application of excavation permits for new water service connections.
In a related development, Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) officer-in-charge Ernesto Perez said the agency is set to submit to the Office of the Executive Secretary the revised implementing rules and regulations (IRR) for the Ease of Doing Business Act this week or early next week after completing consultations with stakeholders.
While President Duterte signed the EODB Act in May last year, the IRR have yet to be released.
This, as the IRR could only be officially released until a director general (DG) for the ARTA is appointed.
Perez said he has requested the Office of the Executive Secretary for an authorization or designation to be allowed to sign and promulgate the IRR together with the DTI Secretary and the Civil Service Commission chairman so the rules could be issued immediately.
“It is the DG that has authority to sign implementing rules. While I was designated officer-in-charge, I do not have that authority to sign unless I am specifically given that authority or designation to promulgate and sign implementing rules,” he said.