Philippines jumps in World Bank ease of doing business ranking

The Philippines' ranking in the World Bank 2020 Ease of Doing Business report improved from the previous year, the multilateral lender said Thursday, citing recent reforms.

The Philippines rose to 95th place from 124th while its over-all score improved to 62.9 from 60.9 point in 2019, the World Bank said. China and India made the top 10 list of governments that have done the most in the past year to improve.

Manila's score improved in the following areas: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, protecting minority investors, and paying taxes. Its rating declined in getting electricity and resolving insolvency, the report showed.

The scores were unchanged from the previous year for the following categories: registering property, getting credit, trading across borders and enforcing contracts.

The Philippines recently set up an Anti-Red Tape Authority, one of the offshoots of an Ease of Doing Business Act that President Rodrigo Duterte signed in 2018.

Despite a bitter trade war, in which the United States is demanding reforms from Beijing to protect intellectual property and open its economy further to American businesses, China made the top 10 list for the second year in a row.

With those improvements, China leapfrogged France to take the 31st spot in the "ease of doing business" ranking, moving up 15 places, according to the World Bank report.

And despite US complaints, the report credited China with improving protections for minority investors, strengthening procedures for enforcing contracts and making trade easier with changes to customs administration and port infrastructure.

"Removing barriers facing entrepreneurs generates better jobs, more tax revenues and higher incomes, all of which are necessary to reduce poverty and raise living standards," World Bank Group President David Malpass said in a statement.

India landed on the most-improved list for the third year in a row, making it easier to start a business by abolishing filing fees, lowering the time and cost of seeking construction permits and making trade easier with port improvements and an improved electronic platform for submitting documents.

The country jumped 14 places to number 63 in the global rankings.

The other eight economies where business climates improved the most were Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Togo, Bahrain, Tajikistan, Pakistan, Kuwait, China, India, and Nigeria, the study found.

New Zealand continues to top the global rankings, with Singapore, Hong Kong right behind, with Korea in fifth place, and the United States sixth.

The World Bank studies reforms in 10 areas of business activity in 190 economies, including issues like construction permits, getting electricity and paying taxes.

Malacañang welcomed the news saying it was proof that "the drive for good governance is paying off".

© Agence France-Presse

SOURCE: ABS-CBN

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