By Chino S. Leyco
Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III is confident that the Philippines’ ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business report will improve in 2018 following the “disappointing” slip this year despite the nation’s improving overall score.
In an interview with reporters at the Department of Finance (DOF) headquarters last Friday, Dominguez committed that the government will work hard in inching up the Ease of Doing Business rating ladder in the coming years.
“We said that what is really important is to push the reforms that are required to improve our business. Now this is obviously an effort of the entire government — executive of course is very much involved but so is legislature, and so is the judiciary,” Dominguez said.
The finance chief also said the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) has committed to push for the reforms needed under the government’s executive branch. In the World Bank Group’s Doing Business 2018 report released last week, the Philippines’ ranking plunged 14 notches to 113th from the previous 99th spot across 190 economies.
The World Bank, however, noted the current ranking is not comparable to the one published in the Doing Business 2017 report “because of methodology refinements.” The lender also added the country improved its business regulations last year.
“In particular, the DOF is ready to undertake the Philippine business registry, which is an online system that would serve as a one stop shop for individuals and corporate entities. We want that to be fully operational by the end of this year,” Dominguez said.
Once the Philippines business registry is fully operational, Dominguez said that individuals and companies can keep track and validate records as well as register corporations and enable businesses to apply for a license online.
The business registry will eventually link the Department of Trade and Industry, the Bureau of Customs, Social Security System, Philippine Health Insurance Corp., Home Development Mutual Fund, and local government units nationwide, the finance chief assured.
“This registry will help streamline frontline government services by doing away with the repetitious process of applicants, having to fill up those forms and submitting them to the different agencies,” Dominguez said.
He also added that the government is improving the Philippines business data bank, which is a repository of information of all business enterprises in the country.
“In other words basically we are going to computerize so that the ease of doing business is in fact cheap. This will also speed up the procurement process as the public will have access to the Philippines business data bank,” Dominguez said.
The official added the government will adopt the single-window approach where businesses will only have to submit all documents to one government representative or office which will handle all related processes from there.
“We have the national single window which will be launched on December 30, using the TradeNet platform to automate the import and export application processes,” Dominguez said.
Asked if he is confident that the Philippines’ ranking would improve next year, Dominguez responded affirmatively, noting that in “next year’s reform, you will see improvements.”
“I think this survey, in a way, serves to focus the attention of the people on what the NCC is really doing,” Dominguez said.
Asked if he was surprised that the country slipped 14 notches in the latest World Bank report, Dominguez said “well disappointed is the more appropriate term because you can have a nice surprise, but you cannot have a nice disappointment.”
Tags: Department of Finance, Dominguez confident PH ease of doing business to improve, ease of doing business, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III, National Competitiveness Council, The World Bank