PH to localize WB's Doing Business Ranking

Published September 18, 2021, 4:55 PM

by Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat

The Philippines is looking at localized Doing Business Ranking on cities and municipalities patterned after the World Bank global competitiveness ranking, which has been discontinued following internal data irregularities in the 2018 and 2020 results.

Secretary and ARTA Director General Jeremiah Belgica said the Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council which includes Department of Trade and Industry, Department of ICT, Department of Finance, Department of Interior and Local Governments, and representatives from the private sector will meet Monday, Sept. 20, to discuss further steps to be taken after the WB decision.

Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director-General Jeremiah Belgica (Photo from ARTA)

“Part of our plans will be looking into a possible localized Doing Business Ranking for our cities and municipalities to nurture healthy competition and recognize good initiatives of local government units,” Belgica said in a statement.

According to Belgica, the localized Report Card Survey is slated for rollout by the end of this year to effectively measure the compliance of government agencies to the EODB law.

It could be recalled that the Philippines filed a protest on the results of the WB Doing Business 2019 report where the Philippines’ ranking drastically dropped to 124th slot from 113th in the 2018 index. The Philippines ranked lower despite the country’s ease of doing business score improving by 1.36 points to 57.68.

Belgica, however, noted that since the creation of the Ease of Doing Business (EODB) Law, ARTA has been fighting against government red tape. It cited the effects the WB EODB reports have yielded for the Philippines.

It added though that the WB Group had a good run in bringing countries together to share good practices in doing business.

“One such effect of this global survey is that it brought into focus the importance of streamlining, re-engineering, and automation of government services throughout the international community. It sparked a healthy competitive race amongst world economies in ensuring ease of doing business in their respective jurisdictions,” said Belgica.

In the Philippines particularly, he said, the desire to do better and raise the country’s competitiveness ranking in the said annual survey is one of the driving motivations for the strengthening of the old ARTA law which resulted in the passage of R.A. 11032 or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018. Consequently, the said law paved the way for the creation of a new agency ARTA attached to the Office of the President.

Since the creation of ARTA in 2018, its ranking rose from 124th in 2018 to 95th in 2019. The Philippines projected a significant increase in 2020 for our collaborative efforts with other government agencies across the different indicators including Starting a Business and Getting Credit.

Despite the discontinuance of the global Ease of Doing ranking annual report, Belgica vowed that nothing will change in ARTA’s trajectory to improve services and carry out plans to further streamline and automate processes in the government.

“Even without rankings and scorings, we will continue to bolster our efforts to ensure that business processing with the government is easy, fast, and reliable. The work for government efficiency and the battle against bureaucratic red tape is much greater than what any survey or competition could ever quantify,” said Belgica.

ARTA will give more premium on improving the customer experience of stakeholders for every government process as this especially relevant during this time of global pandemic where speed and efficiency of services and processes is of utmost importance, he added.