By Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat
After implementing 44 reforms that streamlined business processes in government, the Philippines is setting a fighting target in the high 80s in its ranking in the ease of doing business survey of the International Finance Corp-World Bank although the Philippines is more likely to settle in the 90-94 range.
Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez said this after the Land Registration Authority, and the two water concessionaires Manila Water Services and Maynilad signed memorandum of agreements with Quezon City government to facilitate business applications for water connections and land title registrations.
“The fighting target is in the high 80s if not all countries will improve, but if all others will then 90-94 would be a good number,” said Lopez. The Philippines best score in this annual survey was 95.
Last year, however, the DTI and Department of Finance lodged a joint protest against the IFC-World Bank report after the country’s ranking dropped to 124 out of 190 economies. Lopez said the Philippines legitimate score in the survey last year was 113.
Lopez noted they have reported 33 accomplished reforms to WB out of the 43 reform initiatives that the various government agencies have implemented. Of the 33 accomplished reforms, only 25-28 could be credited in the next survey considering that IFC is already conducting the survey for validation by May 2.
It will take time for the constituents to experience these reforms when they transact with government agencies like LRA, Bureau of Internal Revenue and Securities and Exchange Commission. Lopez said, “It could take another survey cycle to impact on the country’s ranking.”
(http://www.doingbusiness.org/en/reports/global-reports/doing-business-2019 released on October 31, 2018).
The MOAs with LRA, Meralco, Metropolitan Waterworks Sewerage System, Maynilad and Manila are just among efforts to improve ease of doing business.
Yesterday’s MOA signing was done with Quezon City because it is the sampled LGU in the IFC survey. Other LGUs though can have the same arrangement with other service providers to facilitate permitting for enterprises that are starting a business.
Lopez further said that all LGUs have been part of the challenge to streamline and automate their permitting and licensing processes that he could only surmise that half of the more than 1,000 municipalities are already implementing less than 3 days processing period.
For instance, the municipalities of Ormoc, Valenzuela, Batangas City and San Fernando have already automated processes that business permits can be approved in 30 minutes although the maximum allowable processing is three days.
“In fact, some LGUs have one-stop-shop,” he said.
On starting a business, the Philippines have problems with dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, and paying taxes.
Among the accomplished reforms include landmark legislations, such as the RA 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018; RA 11057, or the Personal Property Security Act of 2018, which establishes one-collateral registry to support MSMEs access to finance; RA 11232, or the Revised Corporation Code of the Philippines, which removes paid-in capital requirement; SEC implementation of the Lane for Ease Application Processing; BIR implementation of the Single Window Policy; Streamline company registration and issuance of Revenue Memorandum Circulars (RMC) 28-2019 and 29-2019; use of BIR Printed Receipts/ Invoices and registration of books of accounts; and, full implementation of Joint Memorandum Circular on Construction Permits including joint inspection with Bureau of Fire and Protection.