ARTA cites progress in ease of doing business, but seeks review of WB report

Published May 7, 2021, 10:31 AM

by Argyll Cyrus Geducos

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) vowed to double its efforts to further make positive changes in the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) situation in the country as the agency cited the Philippines’ continued performance in the said arena.


ARTA Director-General Jeremiah Belgica made the statement after the World Bank reported in its Doing Business (DB) Report revealed that the Philippines ranked 95th out of 190 economies with a score of 62.8 in 2020, jumping 29 notches from no. 124 with a 57.68 score in 2019.

The World Bank rates a country’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) performance based on 10 indicators that represent the life cycle of a business namely Starting a Business, Dealing with Construction Permits, Getting Electricity, Registering Property, Getting Credit, Protecting Minority Investors, Paying Taxes, Trading Across Borders, Enforcing Contracts, and Resolving Insolvency.

During the agency’s EODB Summit on Thursday, Belgica reported the progress made in doing business in the country.

“We significantly leap-frogged on three indicators – Protecting Minority Investors, Getting Credit, and Dealing with Construction Permits,” he said.

Despite the pandemic, ARTA was able to work on its goal of streamlining and re-engineering government processes and enforcing zero-contact policy through accessible online government transactions, and mandatory electronic-Business One-Stop-Shop (BOSS) in local governments, among others.

However, Belgica raised concerns on how the World Bank conducts its survey over the seeming failure to reflect improvements in other indicators, urging the organization anew to review its methodology.

Among the issues he mentioned were the “inconsistencies with the results of the customer satisfaction survey by agencies against the assessment of the DB respondents.”

“[It] may have emanated from the fact that the persons who responded to the WB Survey are not the same persons transacting with the agencies/ LGU. It may be that the respondents to the survey of WB are officials of the Law/ Accounting firms while persons transacting with the agencies/ LGUs are the liaison officers or processors or clerks or sometimes messengers of the Law/ Accounting firms,” Belgica said.

“Some respondents may not be those who are transacting in Quezon City. With this, there may be a possibility that the responses were their experience from other local government units,” he added.

Belgica likewise stressed the need to have a “clear distinction between the preparation time of the applicant and the processing time of the agencies.”

To address these, he said DB survey teams would filter and select entities who have experienced the process or regulations as specifically indicated in the case study assumptions of the indicators.

Belgica said there was also a need to brief the respondents to ensure that they have the right appreciation of the survey and the assumptions.