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Small Businesses in Quezon City to Benefit from IFC Business Simplification Program


In Manila
Lumen Balboa
Phone + 643 2 8487333
E-mail: LBalboa@ifc.org

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 neighboring countries.

About IFC
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 of businesses.