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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NCC commits to boost its effort to improve PHL’s competitiveness

The government and private sector will strengthen their common efforts to improve Philippine competitiveness through reforms in transactions and procedures needed to improve country’s competitiveness. This is the response of National Competitiveness Council (NCC) to the recent results of Doing Business Survey 2012, where the Philippines slipped two notches from the 134th to 136th.

NCC, a public-private sector task force aimed to improve Philippines’ global competitiveness, said reforms in government procedures were already in place, and it only needs to be accelerated to keep up with other countries and achieve significant improvements.

Guillermo Luz, NCC Private Sector Co-Chair cited that main factor why Philippines performed poorly in the survey is that it “have not kept pace with reforms in other countries.” He said that the country's pace of reform is not as fast as it should be, noting that “standing still is tantamount to falling behind.”

Mr. Luz also explained that the change of sample city from Manila to Quezon City contributed slight improvement to the results, but the processes in some of the national government agencies formed a bigger part of the survey.

Since some parts of the survey were based from the perception of the business registrants, Mr. Luz underscored the importance of communicating government’s programs to the public. “More people need to be aware of the work that is ongoing. We must do a better job communicating this.” He said.

There are initiatives already taken by NCC together with other agencies to improve the ease of doing business in our country. In the LGU level, the streamlining of Business Permits and Licensing Systems (BPLS) of LGUs aims to simplify business permit application for new businesses and renewals. By the end of this year, 475 cities and municipalities will have finished training and deployed systems to simplify business permit and licensing processes. These LGUs will use a single application form, which can be processed in five steps and within five days, and requires only two signatures for approval. There is also a plan to eventually automate the processes so that applications can be filed online.

In the national level, DTI has also been working with national government agencies to finalize the Philippine Business Registry (PBR), a web-based national single window for business registration. Through PBR, entrepreneurs can apply their business online and register at six different agencies (DTI, SEC, BIR, SSS, Pag-ibig Fund, PhilHealth).

Other government agencies and LGUs will also be connected with the PBR once its started operation. This is expected to reduce the red tape in the national government agencies and as an effect, improve the ease of doing business in the country.

There is also the National Single Window (NSW) designed by Department of Finance, Bureau of Customs, and 30 other agencies which aims to simplify and bring online customs services for importers and exporters.

Mr. Luz admitted that focusing on ease of doing business will not create a significant impact, but instead working on the progress in other areas. “We need to work on more areas of improvement at the same time. BPLS alone, for instance, will not have the impact we want. We need to also have progress in other areas.”

NCC will also extend its efforts to improve government procedures such as property registration, tax payment process, investor protection, credit information, enforcement of contracts, construction permit issuance, and resolution of insolvency.

Aside from simplifying government procedures, NCC is also undertaking reforms for improvements in the areas of education and human resources, government performance, infrastructure, anti-corruption, judiciary, budget management, and power and energy resources. These areas are expected to enhance Philippine competitiveness. Public Relations Office, Department of Trade and Industry

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