NEDA: Philippines needs strong competition policy

Louise Maureen Simeon - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — The implementation of a strong competition policy will help the Philippines move up the economic ladder and attain its goal of becoming a high-income country, according to National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) chief Karl Kendrick Chua.

In a forum, Chua said a strong competition policy would strengthen the country’s foundation to achieve upper-middle income country status and eventually grow to high- income status.

“By fostering a business-friendly environment and a level playing field that welcomes all players, we can promote more innovation, create more and better jobs, and accelerate our growth,” Chua said.

Prior to COVID, Chua emphasized that the government has pursued reforms to improve the country’s global competitiveness ranking.

These include the enactment of the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, the Philippine Innovation Act, and the Rice Tariffication Law, as well as the implementation of the Build Build Build infrastructure program.

When the pandemic started, Chua said the government continued to implement reforms to improve competition which formed part of the country’s economic recovery program.

One of which is the Corporate Recovery and Tax Incentives for Enterprises which lowered the regular corporate income tax and made the grant of fiscal incentives system more performance-based, targeted, time-bound and transparent.

Before the Duterte administration ends in a few months, Chua said that three economic liberalization bills are still necessary to aid in economic rebound.

“These landmark reforms will relax restrictions on foreign ownership, bring in more innovation, create more and better jobs, lower prices, improve quality of service, and maximize the benefits of CREATE to attract more investments into the country,” Chua said.

In October of last year, Duterte also signed the adoption and implementation of the National Competition Policy.

This provides the government with a legal framework for the adoption of pro-competition interventions to maintain market efficiency and protect consumer welfare.

It also strengthens the enforcement of the Philippine Competition Act, which helps protect the public against cartels and anti-competitive agreements.

Chua maintained that the successful implementation of the National Competition Policy relies on the strong collaboration among government offices and sector regulators, not only those with competition-related mandates.

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