SIMPLIFIED regulations are making business in the country easier, with the Philippines up four places to 99th in the World Bank’s annual ease of doing business report.
In a statement on Wednesday, World Bank country director Mara Warwick said the Philippines’ rise was driven by changes such as online tax payments.
“Authorities have worked toward simplifying business regulations in the Philippines,” said Warwick. “This is important for the economy to ensure small and medium enterprises can flourish and create jobs for millions of Filipinos.”
Based on the World Bank Group’s “Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All” report, the Philippines ranked 99th out of 190 economies, four steps higher from the 2016 report.
“The Philippines has improved the transparency of building regulations,” the World Bank said.
“It has also made paying taxes easier by introducing an online system for filing and paying health contributions, and by allowing for online corporate income tax and VAT (value-added tax) returns to be completed offline,” World Bank added.
In the 2016 Doing Business report, the Philippines ranked 103rd among 189 economies. The country’s highest ranking in the annual report was in 2015, when it landed on the 95th spot. The country sank to 148th, its lowest rank, in 2010.
28 days to start a business in PH
Bottlenecks however remain in the areas of starting a business, protecting minority investors and enforcing contracts.
An example cited by the World Bank is the 28 days it takes to start a business in the Philippines, compared with 21 days on average at the global level.
The World Bank Group’s 2017 Doing Business survey was the fourteenth in the series of annual reports on regulations that either enhance or constrain business activity across economies.
Economies from the East Asia and Pacific region dominated the latest report, as five economies from the region landed in the top 10 economies.
The top-ranked economies included New Zealand at first place, Singapore at second, Hong Kong at fourth and South Korea at fifth.
Four other countries in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) climbed in this year’s ranking.
Thailand rose to 46th from 49th, Brunei to 72nd from 84th, Vietnam to 82nd from 90th, and Indonesia to 91st from 109th.
Brunei and Indonesia were among this year’s top gainers, driven by economic reforms.
Reforms implemented by Indonesia include the abolition of the minimum capital requirement for small and medium-size enterprises, and encouraging the use of an online system to reserve company names.
“As a result, it now takes 22 days to start a business in Jakarta, compared with 47 days previously,” the World Bank said.
Brunei Darussalam, which implemented six reforms in the past year, increased the reliability of power supply by introducing an automatic energy management system for the monitoring of outages and restoring service.
Five Asean economies fell in the 2017 rankings. Singapore dropped to the second spot from first, Malaysia to 23rd from 18th, Cambodia to 131st from 127th, Laos to 139th from 134th, and Myanmar to 170th from 167th.