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National Competitiveness Council Works with IFC to Simplify Business Regulations in the Philippines


In Manila:
Lumen Balboa

Phone: +632 8487333

Email:        
LBalboa@ifc.org


Manila, June 5, 2007 – As part of its agenda to improve the country’s business environment, the National Competitiveness Council is now working with IFC to help improve the business environment in the Philippines by tackling microeconomic constraints to investment. Priorities include streamlining transaction flows and reducing the cost of doing business, helping create jobs and improve people’s lives.

“We would like to see more consistency in the application and interpretation of business rules at the national and local levels. For this to happen, we need to have better information on how business regulations are implemented at both levels,” said Mr. Cesar Bautista, Co-Chair for the Private Sector at the National Competitiveness Council.


At a workshop hosted by the council on May 31, 2007, participants from the national and local government, the private sector, academe and other development partners discussed possible reforms to help the government improve the business climate and the country’s ranking in global competitiveness surveys. They also discussed international reform experiences, key challenges and ways that these can be adapted for the Philippines.


“The country’s competitiveness will be advanced by hard objective data on how it performs against specific measures and standards and in comparison with other countries, and this partnership with IFC is a step in the right direction,” Bautista added.


During the workshop, representatives from IFC introduced Doing Business Philippines, an extension of the joint IFC and WB Doing Business report that benchmarks the regulatory cost of doing business in 175 economies.


“Doing Business Philippines is a benchmarking tool that is objective, systematic and internationally comparable. It will help improve transparency and increase information flows by providing a mechanism to monitor the health of the business environment and serve as a catalyst for reform. More importantly, the result of the benchmarking will provide a basis for policy reform decisions,” said Mr. Euan Marshall, Country Coordinator for IFC Advisory Services for the Philippines.


IFC, in partnership with the Asian Institute of Management, is embarking on a project to measure the business regulations and cost of doing business in 17 key cities in the Philippines, including Cebu, Davao, Makati, Manila, Marikina and Quezon.  The goal is to develop consistency in the thinking, implementation and monitoring of business regulation by creating a common framework.


By working with the Asian Institute of Management, the project will provide a rich source of information on city competitiveness and create a repository of current data and benchmarks on business regulation. IFC’s Doing Business Philippines looks at regulations, while the institute’s Philippine Cities Competitiveness Ranking Project tracks a set of competitiveness drivers using government data and business perception surveys at local levels.


“IFC is ready to help the government improve the country's competitiveness. Our participation in this workshop builds on our on-going partnership with government and affirms our commitment to advocate for investment climate reform,” said Mr. Jesse Ang, IFC Acting Country Manager for the Philippines.


About the National Competitiveness Council

The National Competitiveness Council was formed last October 2006 as a Public-Private Task Force on Philippine Competitiveness by virtue of Presidential Executive Order No. 571, to address the improvement of the country’s competitiveness from the bottom third of competitiveness rankings to the top third by 2010. The council is co-chaired by Trade and Industry Secretary Peter Favila for the public sector and Ambassador Cesar Bautista for the private sector. The NCC focuses on six (6) areas expected to improve the country’s competitiveness, namely: 1) Developing Competitive Human Resources; 2) Instituting Efficient Public and Private Sector Management; 3) Creating Effective Access to Financing; 4) Improving Transaction Cost and Flows; 5) Providing Seamless Infrastructure Network; and 6) Developing Energy Cost Competitiveness and Self-Sufficiency. Each of the focus areas are handled by working groups with members coming from both the public and private sector, primarily those agencies and offices already involved in some of the priority projects, as well as foreign and local chambers of commerce, and various industry associations. There are also council members assigned to handle legislative and judiciary concerns. Also working closely with the council are the Anti-Red Tape Task Force and the Philippine Development Forum Development in the implementation of short- and long-term goals.


About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit
www.ifc.org.

IFC in the Philippines

IFC has been investing in the Philippines for more than 40 years and established an office in Manila in 1977. As of March 2007, the country ranked 13th among IFC’s exposures worldwide, with about $427 million in 31 projects. To complement its growing investments, IFC is also expanding its advisory services to include public-private partnerships and supporting the development of small and medium enterprises. IFC is focusing on Mindanao focus and in 2006 opened an office in Davao City.