MANILA – Trade and Industry secretary Ramon Lopez expressed optimism that the country’s ease of doing business score will show marked improvement this year since 33 out of the 43 specified areas needing reforms have already been achieved.
In an interview, Lopez identified some of these areas as the faster release of business permits; facilitation with utility companies, such as the Manila Electric Company (Meralco), Manila Water, and Maynilad Water; amendment of the Corporation Code to remove the minimum paid-in capital; and institutionalization of the Personal Property Security law.
These measures are seen to help improve the country’s ranking to between 89 and 94, based on the simulation activities, he said.
Lopez said the Philippine government will submit to the World Bank (WB) a report on the country’s progress during the Ease of Doing Business survey validation early next month.
“Now, as to whether these will be credited, we’re confident that over 20 will be credited since this means that these are being implemented for a long time now,” he said.
Lopez explained that local government units (LGUs) have agreed to release the necessary permits requested by businessmen within three days after the filing of application.
Some LGUs, such as Quezon City and the cities of Valenzuela, Batangas, and San Fernando, as well as in Ormoc, are able to do this procedure within 30 minutes since they have automated their processes, he said.
The trade chief said they have challenged LGU officials around the country to streamline their processes, with some having already established one-stop shops for this purpose.
“What is critical is getting the fire inspection safety clearance. If you can fast-track this or require this post registration, then you can really do 30 minutes registration of business permit,” he said.
In 2018, the country’s ranking fell to 124 out of 190 countries, a slip from its 113th position in the previous year.
However, economic managers questioned the ranking last year after noting that WB used a different scoring system compared to surveys in the past.
Relatively, Lopez said that even if not all the reforms are credited by the WB in this year’s survey, “the reforms and the momentum should continue even after the survey, the cut-off.”
“We have to continue the momentum of these reforms so that by the end of the year, moving into next year, we can feel the improvements,” he added. (PNA)