Logistics, IT among areas where PH needs to be more competitive

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Saturday, December 14, 2013

TO BE competitive with other countries, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) keeps track of 10 global indices. Its aim is to bring the Philippine rankings to the top of list among Southeast Asian countries by studying the indicators of each of these indices and making the necessary changes in the weak spots.

Mary Lou Gesilva, who heads the Ease of Doing Business task force secretariat under the Department of Trade and Industry and NCC, said that despite the twin calamities that recently hit the country, the Philippines still needs to stay competitive and prepare to accept more investments.

“The more competitive we are, the more of these we get,” she said at a discussion on boosting regional competitiveness, referring to investments, trade and exports, human capital, tourists, and brand and image.

Out of the 10 indices they are tracking, the Philippines performed the best this year in the Ease of Doing Business survey conducted by the International Finance Corp. (IFC) of the World Bank, jumping 30 places up from 138 last year to 108 this year.

Eight out of the 10 indices saw the Philippines improving while two studies found the Philippines sliding from the rankings or maintaining its position.

These were in the Logistics Performance Index by the World Bank, which saw the Philippines dropping eight slots, and the Global Information Technology Report of the World Economic Forum, where the country stayed at 86th place.

Among member-states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), the Philippines has stayed in the bottom half of the rankings. It ranks sixth out of 10 in the Global Competitiveness Index and Ease of Doing Business Survey, fourth out of five in the IMD World Competitiveness Report, seventh out of 10 in the Failed States Index conducted by the Fund for Peace and seventh out of nine in the Global Innovation Index.

However, it is ranked fourth out of 10 in Transparency International’s Corruption Perception Index.

In its 2013 report, the IFC found the Philippines most improved in the rankings because of the 30 notches it rose from. It was also fifth in the most improved economies list.

Among the indicators of the report, Gesilva said starting a business is a sore spot for the Philippines, ranking 170 out of 189 countries. It ranked 131 when it came to paying taxes and 128 in terms of protecting investors. Its highest point was in getting electricity, which saw it rank 33rd.

“As you can see, we need to work harder in making business easier in the Philippines,” she said. Although the 30-place increase in the rankings is a significant improvement, Gesilva said the country should not be content with the changes it is instituted to achieve this rank.

She noted that many other countries in Southeast Asia made improvements in their rankings as well and will also be competing to do better in the next round of surveys.

Still, she said achieving such rankings takes intense planning, execution and collaboration between the public and private sectors.

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on December 14, 2013.


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