DOF, NCC slam anew World Bank report on doing business
(The Philippine Star) - November 3, 2015 - 9:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines is not yet done with the World Bank and will repeat its criticisms of the Doing Business Report in a meeting today with the agency’s directors and potentially with its president through writing.

“I will be having a special session with them (today), with the executive directors. From our end, the World Bank can expect a very frank exchange regarding the report,” said National Competitiveness Council private sector co-chairman Guillermo Luz yesterday.

In addition, Rosalia de Leon, alternate country executive director at the World Bank, said the Department of Finance (DOF) is taking the “next steps” to prompt the multilateral agency into action over its annual rankings where the Philippines suffered a six-notch slip.

“Let us see the next steps to be taken by the DOF,” De Leon told The STAR in an e-mail, declining to elaborate.

Sources said this included Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima writing World Bank president Jim Yong Kim to express his dismay over the country’s performance in the report. The Philippines dropped to 103rd from 97th last year.

Purisima, the country’s governor to the World Bank, did not respond to questions sent through e-mail and text messages yesterday.

The Finance chief had branded the annual rankings “erratic” and “unsound,” criticizing the yearly changes in methodology which he said caused the Philippines’ slip in the list.

In an e-mail, Finance assistant secretary Ma. Teresa Habitan said the Philippines had long been questioning the World Bank over the Doing Business methodology. “Not just this year,” she said.

Finance undersecretary Gil Beltran, for his part, echoed Purisima by saying the survey’s methodology of assigning one city in data gathering “may be very inaccurate.”

“They have also been changing the methodology each year so our ranking gets changed, affected or lowered whenever this happens,” Beltran said in a phone interview.

“I think we started (complaining) during the Aquino administration because anyway, it is during this administration when we made the biggest jumps on making doing business easier,” he explained.

The country’s performance in the Doing Business Report has been fluctuating despite its improvements in another business climate gauge of the World Economic Forum (WEF), data showed.

ACIRC DE LEON DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE DOING BUSINESS DOING BUSINESS REPORT FINANCE SECRETARY CESAR PURISIMA GIL BELTRAN GUILLERMO LUZ JIM YONG KIM NATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL WORLD BANK
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