PH falls 11 places in 2019 World Bank ease of doing business ranking

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 31) — The Philippines fell eleven spots this year in World Bank's ease of doing business ranking from 113th last year to 124th out of 190 countries.

The World Bank yearly releases a "Doing Business" report, which compares "business regulation for domestic firms in 190 economies."

In the "Doing Business 2019: Training for Reform" report, the Philippines, with a score of 57.68, also had the second lowest rank in the East Asia and Pacific Region. The average score for the region is 63.41 points, with Malaysia having the highest rank in the region at the 15th spot. Laos, at 154th place, had the lowest rank.

New Zealand kept its top spot in the rankings, while Somalia placed 190th.

The report considers the following indicators in assessing how easy it is to conduct business in a nation: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, property registration, getting electricity, getting credit, paying taxes, resolving insolvency, enforcing contracts, protecting minority investors, and trading across borders.

The World Bank noted that the Philippines improved in terms of starting a business, dealing with construction permits and protecting minority investors.

The nation did not do well when it comes to trading across borders.

"The Philippines made trading across borders more difficult by increasing the number of inspections for importing, thereby increasing the average time for border compliance," the report read.

Rankings aside, the Philippines' score improved by 1.36 points compared to last year's, which was 56.32 points.

Still, the Department of Finance (DOF) and Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) contested these findings, and claimed that the Philippines' score for getting credit should have improved.

The World Bank gave the Philippines a score of five out of 100 for getting credit, the same score as that of last year after revisions were made from the first release of the 2018 report.

In a joint statement, the DOF and DTI demanded that the World Bank issue a correction.

"The correction should be done soon as the Report could unduly compromise the Philippines' standing among the investment community and negatively impact the country's development," the joint statement read.

Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez wrote to Mara Warwick, World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines and Thailand on the matter.

Dominguez argued that the World Bank should not have based its credit data from the Bankers Association of the Philippines (BAP) Credit Bureau, and should have gathered data from credit bureaus that have a larger database of borrower-entrepreneurs.