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President Aquino forms task force on ease of doing business in Phl

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Jacinto Ng (L), Asia United Bank (AUB) Corp chairman, leads the ceremonial ringing of the bell at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), as Anita Ng (2nd L), PSE Chairman Jose Pardo (2nd R) and PSE official Vivian Yuchengco look on, in a financial district of Makati city, metro Manila May 17, 2013. Philippine lender Asia United Bank Corp jumped as much as 9.5 percent on its market debut on Friday after an oversubscribed public offer, the first listing since the country won investment rating upgrades from two agencies this year. (MNS photo)

Jacinto Ng (L), Asia United Bank (AUB) Corp chairman, leads the ceremonial ringing of the bell at the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE), as Anita Ng (2nd L), PSE Chairman Jose Pardo (2nd R) and PSE official Vivian Yuchengco look on, in a financial district of Makati city, metro Manila May 17, 2013. Philippine lender Asia United Bank Corp jumped as much as 9.5 percent on its market debut on Friday after an oversubscribed public offer, the first listing since the country won investment rating upgrades from two agencies this year. (MNS photo)

In a bid to boost the country’s competitiveness ranking in the world and improve the business climate in the country, President Benigno S. Aquino III has signed an administrative order for the creation of an inter-agency task force that will implement reforms making it easier to do business in the Philippines.

Executive Secretary Paquito N. Ochoa Jr. on Tuesday said President Aquino signed Administrative Order No. 38 for the creation of Task Force on Ease of Doing Business (EODB Task Force) in order to implement an action plan, which was drafted by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC), to enhance the business competitiveness of the country.

“The EODB Task Force is seen to significantly help improve our ranking in the survey since it is tasked to ensure the full implementation of the Gameplan for Competitiveness designed by the NCC and endorsed by the Economic Development Cluster,” Ochoa said.

Currently the Philippines ranks 138th out of 185 countries in the world, and is 8th out of the 10-member Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) in the Doing Business Survey (DBS) of the World Bank International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The Gameplan for Competitiveness is a strategy which sets reform targets for concerned government agencies based on 10 indicators that determine the country’s world ranking in the DBS. It also identifies key areas for public and private sector participation to boost the global business competitiveness ranking of the Philippines.

The business survey of the IFC measures and tracks business regulations across 10 indicators, namely: starting businesses, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency.

Under AO No. 38, the task force will be led by the Secretary of Trade and Industry (DTI). Its members include representatives of the NCC; the Departments of Finance (DOF), the Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Justice (DOJ); Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Customs (BoC); Land Registration Authority (LRA); Credit Information Corp. (CIC); Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); Social Security System (SSS); Home Development Mutual Fund (HDMF); and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. (PHIC).

President Aquino calls for the participation and assistance of concerned local government units, as well private and public institutions, including government-owned and -controlled corporations (GOCCs), in the implementation and accomplishment of targets provided in the Gameplan for Competitiveness.

Among others, AO No. 38 specifically directs the task force to review and develop policies, programs and guidelines to ensure appropriate implementation of the Gameplan for Competitiveness, re-evaluate and adopt measures to achieve goals set for 2013 and finalize the goals for 2014 onwards, and coordinate with the proper agencies for the inclusion of the targets in the performance goals of concerned departments in their respective performance-based incentive systems.

The EODB Task Force is likewise to recommend to the President the issuance of proper measures to promote transparency and efficiency in business practices in the country.

It is also directed to submit a report to the Office of the President through the Economic Development Cluster within 60 days from the issuance of the AO and every six months thereafter.

The funding requirements of the task force will be taken from the respective budgets of member-agencies, with subsequent funding requirements to be incorporated in the annual budget proposals of each of the member-agencies.

AO No. 38 takes effect immediately.

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