By Chino S. Leyco
More reforms are needed for the Philippines to join the top ranks of countries identified by the World Bank as the best places to do business, which is crucial to attracting more investments, creating jobs and attaining financial inclusion for the Filipino people, Finance Secretary Carlos G. Dominguez III has said.
Dominguez said the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) played a key role in dramatically improving the Philippines’ ranking by 29 notches to 95th in the latest Ease of Doing Business (EODB) global report released by the World Bank, as he lauded the men and women of the SEC for their “good work” on the occasion of its recent 83rd anniversary.
The finance chief commended SEC for carrying out reforms to enhance the local business climate and bust investment scams, but added “there is much more to be done” for the government to achieve inclusive growth and suit up Filipinos for the Fourth Industrial Revolution (FIRe).
FIRe refers to the emerging era of disruptive trends and technologies that have been changing the way people live and work today.
Besides helping improve the EODB environment in the country, Dominguez noted that the SEC also became a member in the prestigious International Forum of Independent Audit Regulators, which will give it and Filipino professionals the opportunity to work with and learn from their international counterparts.
The SEC was also awarded the International Standards of Accounting and Reporting Honors by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), which recognized the regulator’s exemplary work in the promotion of good corporate governance and sustainable business practices.
“We cannot rest on our laurels, however. There is much work to be done for the country to rank at the top ranks for ease of doing business. This is indispensable for attracting investments into our economy and building inclusive development for our people,” Dominguez said.
He pointed out that the SEC is not just a regulatory body out to make the country safe for business and protect Filipinos from unscrupulous racketeers, but is also an “enabler of the enterprising” and “a frontline institution in building” the Philippines’ competitiveness.
He said the SEC “substantially delivered” on several areas of concern he had first raised three years ago during its 80th anniversary.
Among these were the need to 1) dramatically improve the business climate and make policies and procedures hospitable to start-ups; 2) move up the rankings in the EODB Report; 3) act promptly and effectively against investment scams, insider trading and money laundering; 4) further streamline procedures and deploy more information technology to enhance the Commission’s capacity in delivering on its mission; and, 5) rapidly develop the Credit Information Corp. (CIC) database to enable small businesses to better access financial services from the capital market.
On top of making progress on these deliverables, Dominguez said the SEC also worked hard to ensure the enactment of the Revised Corporation Code, which he described as a “landmark piece of legislation” that provides a fresh legal framework for the Philippine corporate sector and a stronger mandate for the SEC.
On its stepped-up campaign against scams, Dominguez said the SEC also produced remarkable results, including the filing of criminal complaints against KAPA, the revocation of the registration of Organico Agribusiness Ventures Corp. and the delisting of agri-business firm Calata Corp.
“There is much more to be done to prepare our economy and business environment for the many challenges of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. I am confident that the men and women who devote their talents to help the SEC fulfill its mission will continue delivering the reforms we urgently need,” Dominguez said.