MANILA (UPDATE) - Doing business in the Philippines is still not favorable as the country slipped six spots in World Bank's latest Ease of Doing Business rankings.
The Philippines placed 103rd in the latest report, down from last year's revised ranking of 97th place.
The report said the country lags behind in terms of protecting minority investors but performs well in terms of getting electricity.
The Philippines' distance to frontier, the measure showing distance from established best practices in the world, improved to 60.07 points from 59.94 points.
National Competitiveness Council co-chairman Bill Luz, meanwhile, questioned the change in the methodology of study, saying it is difficult to pursue reforms if measures are constantly changing.
In a statement, Finance Secretary Cesar Purisima also questioned the dip in rankings despite government's efforts in implementing improvements across all indicators.
The process of starting a business has been reduced from 16 steps and 34 days to 6 steps and 8 days.
E-government initiatives also reduced the number of payroll-related payments from 36 to 13, a marked improvement on the “Paying Taxes" category.
Purisima noted that the survey methodology of collecting sample data from only one or two cities makes it inappropriate to present the report as reflective of the state of doing business for an entire economy.
“Countries, especially developing ones like the Philippines, will have bright spots of promise in some areas and not in others. For example, we have our economic zones managed by PEZA, which will give investors a drastically different landscape than other areas. With this methodology, the DB survey should be more aptly titled as 'Doing Business Across Cities' to provide a better representation of the results of the report,” the finance secretary said.
“More importantly, this title will avert the tendency of the report to be construed as providing a depiction of the state of doing business for an entire economy, which it could not do given the survey’s sampling bias,” he added.
Compared to ASEAN countries, the Philippines lagged behind Singapore (ranked 1st), Malaysia (18th), Thailand (49th), and Vietnam (90th).
SINGAPORE STILL RANKS FIRST
Singapore again topped the World Bank Group's annual ease of doing business measurement for the 10th consecutive year.
Also among the top 20 economies are New Zealand (ranked 2); Republic of Korea (4); Hong Kong SAR, China (5); Taiwan, China (11); and Australia (13).
The study showed that after Europe, East Asia and the Pacific is the second most represented region in the world's top 20 economies.
It was also revealed that most economies in East Asia and the Pacific are undertaking reforms to further improve the regulatory environment for small and medium-sized enterprises.
"Entrepreneurs in East Asia and Pacific are seeing reforms that cut across multiple sectors, from reducing barriers for opening a new business and making tax compliance easier, to improving regulations in the credit market and getting access to electricity," said Rita Ramalho, manager of the Doing Business project. -- With a report from Warren de Guzman, ANC