Manila, February 12, 2008—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is working with the local government
of Quezon City in the Philippines to improve the local business environment.
IFC and Quezon City, one of the country’s leading economic centers, yesterday
forged the cooperation agreement that aims to reduce informality by simplifying
local business regulations.
Informal business activity is detrimental
to both governments and businesses themselves. For local governments,
high informality prevents the collection of accurate, precise information
about local economic activity, which can be used to develop more effective
support programs. For businesses, it limits access to key resources, support,
and the potential for growth. Informal enterprises do not contribute
taxes and licensing fees to the local resources, constraining further the
government’s ability to support them.
Building on an ongoing subnational Doing
Business survey, IFC will focus initially on simplifying procedures
for obtaining licenses and permits for business activity.
Quezon City Mayor Feliciano Belmonte
said, “IFC’s advisory services program for business simplification is
consistent with our city’s aim to streamline business procedures, given
the continuous expansion of local businesses and the demand from the private
sector for more efficient procedures. We welcome this partnership as both
timely and beneficial for our city.”
IFC Head of Advisory Services for the
Philippines Euan Marshall said, “We designed the advisory services program
to facilitate the sharing of expertise between IFC and Quezon City. The
city has a wealth of experience in undertaking innovations that support
private sector development and business growth, while IFC has global experience
in business environment reform. We aim to achieve simplified and transparent
regulatory procedures that stimulate private investment, reduce informality,
and support the productivity and growth potential of smaller businesses
in the city.”
Quezon City is one of the 20 cities
covered by the subnational Doing Business survey that IFC launched
in 2007, in partnership with the National Competitiveness Council and the
Asian Institute of Management. Key cities in Metro Manila such as Marikina,
Makati, Manila, Pasig, Taguig, and Muntinlupa and economic centers outside
of Manila such as Cebu and Davao are also included in the benchmarking.
IFC Acting Country Manager for the Philippines
and Thailand Jesse Ang said, “This program underscores IFC’s commitment
to making advisory services an integral part of our strategy in the Philippines.
This kind of work, which improves the business climate, also helps attract
more private investments to the country.”
According to the Doing Business 2008
report, which provides objective measures of business regulations and their
enforcement, faster and fuller reforms are needed to improve the country’s
performance in the ease of doing business. The Philippines is ranked 133rd
in terms of ease of doing business, lower than the previous year and than
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group,
fosters sustainable economic growth in developing countries by financing
private sector investment, mobilizing private capital in local and international
financial markets, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services
to businesses and governments. IFC’s vision is that people should have
the opportunity to escape poverty and improve their lives. In FY07, IFC
committed $8.2 billion and mobilized an additional $3.9 billion through
syndications and structured finance for 299 investments in 69 developing
countries. IFC also provided advisory services in 97 countries. For more
information, 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 October 2007, IFC had an exposure of $661.96 million in the country.
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 and in 2006
opened an office in Davao City.
As part of its advisory services, IFC
established the Doing Business Program in the Philippines, which
builds on the World Bank-IFC Doing Business report that measures
the costs of business regulations in 178 economies. The Doing
Business Program in the Philippines measures ways that government regulations
enhance or restrain business activity at the subnational level. IFC works
with cities to implement a regulatory reform program aimed at reducing
constraints to business entry and at encouraging the growth and formalization