Published by the Visayan Daily Star Publications, Inc.
|NINFA R. LEONARDIA|
Editor-in-Chief & President
NIDA A. BUENAFE
MAJA P. DELY
ANTONIO L. LEONARDIA|
The Doing Business 2014 report of the World Bank and the International Finance Corp. showed the Philippines improve its ranking by 30 notches to 108 th from 138 th last year, putting it among the 10 economies that made the biggest improvement in business regulation for that period.
The WB report that has been running for 11 years covers 189 countries and analyzes the regulations that apply to the life cycle of small and medium-sized businesses. 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.
Government regulatory reforms in three areas, namely dealing with construction permits, getting credit, and paying taxes led to the improved ranking of the Philippines. We placed sixth in the Southeast Asian region, ahead of Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos but behind Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Vietnam. Singapore and Hong Kong took the overall lead in the WB report.
Despite the marked improvement, WB senior financial sector specialist Nataliya Mylenko says that there is much more that is needed to be done to improve the ease of doing business here. She picked starting a business as the area that needed the most improvement, pointing out that there are currently 15 procedures for starting a business here, the highest in the Southeast Asian region.
A 30-notch improvement is a significant achievement but a step back to see the big picture will show that our country has yet to break into the top-100 countries in the world for doing business. There are still more than a hundred countries where it is easier to do business, and the National Competitiveness Council needs to buckle down if it wants to move our country up another 30 notches next year.
If our country is to experience truly inclusive growth, it will need small and medium sized businesses to survive and thrive so they can employ more Filipinos and offer opportunities for growth. This World Bank report tells us that there is still a long way to go, but we are on the right track. Let us hope that the people who are doing something about it do not lose their focus and determination.*