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Phl up 30 notches in WB ‘Doing Business’ report

Louella Desiderio - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines - The Philippines was among 10 economies which made the biggest improvement in business regulation in the past year, according to the World Bank (WB) and International Finance Corp. (IFC).

The WB and IFC’s Doing Business 2014 report released yesterday showed that the Philippines saw its ranking jump by 30 notches to 108th from 138th last year.

“This is the most the Philippines has improved since the report started,” WB senior financial sector specialist Nataliya Mylenko said during the launch of the report.

Now on its 11th year, the WB report covers 189 countries and analyzes regulations that apply to the life cycle of a small and medium-sized business.

It ranks countries based on 10 indicators: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

The Philippines saw a higher ranking as the government implemented regulatory reforms in three areas: dealing with construction permits, getting credit, and paying taxes.

The WB noted that reforms such as simplified occupancy clearances which eased construction permitting as well as new regulations which guarantee borrowers’ rights to access their data in the country’s credit bureau, were implemented.

The government also introduced fully operational online filing and payment system which made tax compliance easier for companies.

Other countries which showed the most improved rankings in this year’s report were Ukraine, Rwanda, Russian Federation, Kosovo, Djibouti, Cote d’Ivoire, Burundi, Macedonia, and Guatemala.

Within the Southeast Asian region, the Philippines placed sixth, ahead of Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos but behind Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam.

The WB report showed that overall, Singapore and Hong Kong remained the top two leaders.

Despite the big improvement seen in the Philippines’ ranking, Mylenko said there’s so much more that needs to be done to improve the ease of doing business here.

“Where the Philippines needs most improvement is in starting a business,” she said.

There are currently 15 procedures in starting a business here, which is the highest in the Southeast Asian region.

Apart from a reduction in the number of procedures in starting a business, Mylenko said another opportunity for development is in improving access to finance through better legal framework for collateral and its registration.

Trade Undersecretary Nora Terrado told reporters that the improved ranking shows that the efforts of both the government and the private sector have paid off.

“Agencies involved in starting a business have been very focused on improving their internal processes as well as processes that concern businesses. We are building the foundation toward making a more effective inter-agency collaboration, so what we can do to move forward is work together and improve our strategy,” she said.

For his part, National Competitiveness Council private sector co-chairman Guillermo Luz said that for next year, the aim is to move by another 30 notches to reach the double-digit neighborhood.

BRUNEI AND VIETNAM

BUSINESS

CAMBODIA AND LAOS

DOING BUSINESS

GUILLERMO LUZ

INTERNATIONAL FINANCE CORP

MYLENKO

NATALIYA MYLENKO

NATIONAL COMPETITIVENESS COUNCIL

PHILIPPINES

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