PH needs to catch up on competitiveness – NCC

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THE Philippines needs to do some catching up to improve its competitiveness and must work at a faster pace to continue programs that are in the pipeline, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) said in its year-end report released on Thursday.

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According to NCC co-chair Guillermo Luz, for this year, the country has made gains in eight of the global reports (including the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index, Economic Freedom Index, WEF Global IT Report, WEF Travel and Tourism Report, and the WIPO Global Innovation Index) while it dropped in three (including the World Bank-IFC Ease of Doing Business Report).

The results of the Transparency International report are still being awaited this month.

“Since we started in 2011, the NCC goal has been to move the country from the bottom third of world rankings into the top third. We have attained that position on two of the indices — the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index and the Gender Gap Report, where we rank seventh in the world, he said.

“However, while we have moved up into the middle ranks within Asean, we remain quite a distance from our goal of being in the top third globally by the end of 2016. We have our work cut out for us,” Luz said.

Part of NCC work involves building a foundation for long-term competitiveness in the country. These involve projects in the Game Plan for the Ease of Doing Business, the City and Municipality Competitiveness Index, Business Permits and Licensing System, Performance Governance System, Islands of Good Governance, and the Annual Enterprise Survey on Corruption.

“This work underscores our strategy that we need to work on sectoral, geographical, and institutional programs to improve overall national competitiveness,” Luz said.

“The results so far are encouraging. Over the last five years, the Philippines has been the country with the largest jumps in selected global competitiveness reports: +49 in the Transparency International Corruption Perception Index, +45 in the World Bank – IFC Ease of Doing Business Report, +39 in the Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index, and +38 in the WEF Global Competitiveness Index,” he said.

But much still needs be done. “With Asean integration formally starting on 1 January 2016, it is doubly important that we pick up the pace of reform to enable the country to move up the competitiveness rankings. There is a high correlation between these rankings and a country’s attractiveness to foreign direct investments,” Luz said.

“While the country has seen investments rise, we still have lots of catching up to do. Competitiveness is not a sprint, it’s a marathon. You have to build your foundation. It is sustainability. Continue building foundations regardless of changes of leadership,” he said.

“We are nonetheless encouraged by the efforts thus far. The collaboration between the government and the private sector has been extremely high, one of the main reasons why we have had progress on so many fronts. We look forward to this continuing collaboration over the next several years as we feel this is critical to success in the global competitiveness arena,” he added.

“Why do we have so much bureaucracy, processes, red tape? Because we have too much law. We need metrics on regulations to streamline laws, to identify what laws to repeal, [which are]redundant or contradicting. We are overregulated. This is a good way to clean the book,” he added.

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