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Lawmaker calls on Aquino to improve ease of doing business in the Philippines

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Congressman Jack Enrile, of Cagayan province, has urged government economic managers to move more aggressively in improving the ease of doing business in the Philippines, citing the country’s lagging performance in encouraging investments from both foreign and local enterprises.

Enrile said the government should look at what business-friendly economies in the region – such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand – are doing correctly and benchmark local reforms against these countries’ processes.

The lawmaker said the country’s falling rank in the “Doing Business 2012” report of the World Bank and the International Finance Corporation reflects the lack of reforms undertaken by government to improve the regulatory environment for starting and operating businesses.

“We are clearly lagging behind our regional neighbors not only in the ease of doing business but in overall economic competitiveness. This should serve as a wake-up call to our government economic managers to look at our existing regulations that are restricting business activity and address areas that are already actionable,” Enrile said in a statement sent to the Mindanao Examiner.

“Improving the ease of doing business, for both foreign and domestic investors, is one area that is ripe for reform and one that has a high impact potential. Encouraging growth in this sector is even more crucial, given the current slowdown in the economy that is validated by recent economic growth forecast downgrades,” he said.

Based on the Doing Business 2012 report co-published by the WB and IFC, the Philippines registered a negative performance in business regulation on starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting access to electricity, registering property, gaining access to credit, protecting investors, and paying taxes compared to the previous year.

By studying reforms done by economies that ranked high in the list – including Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand – and adapting these reforms to suit the Philippine context, Enrile said the government can improve the ease of doing business in the country and spur business activity, especially from local SMEs.

“Let’s benchmark our reforms to those being done in other countries in Southeast Asia. It’s particularly interesting to find out what Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand and even Malaysia are doing correctly and try replicating it here,” Enrile said.




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