The Philippines climbed one place to rank 56th among 137 countries in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report 2017-2018.
The report showed while the country improved its global ranking from 57th last year, its Asean ranking slid to 8th this year from 6th in 2016.
With the two-point drop in regional standing, the Philippines now ranks behind Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam, which both made large strides, according to the Makati Business Club.
“It is good to see that we have maintained our overall competitiveness and even moved one notch higher. However, as we implement changes to improve, other countries are doing the same. In fact, Vietnam and Brunei have overtaken us this year,” MBC chairman Edgar Chua said.
“We therefore need to do much more at a much faster pace. We call on Congress to focus on passing priority bills identified by the business sector especially the Comprehensive Tax Reform Program and not allow itself to be diverted by various political maneuvers like impeachment proceedings,” said Chua.
The Philippine’s highest gains this year are in market size where it climbed four notches from its 2016 ranking; labor market efficiency, 4 notches up; and higher education and training, 3 notches up.
Macroeconomic environment remains the country’s highest-ranking pillar, but it slid down the 22nd spot, from its 2016 ranking at 20th.
Its ranking in financial market also slid down from 48th in 2016 to 52nd in 2017. In terms of market size, the second highest-ranking pillar, the country jumped four places to 27th.
Based on top-ranked indicators, the Philippine’s competitive advantages are inflation (ranked 1st out of 137), HIV prevalence (ranked 1st), government budget balance (ranked 24th), business impact of malaria (26th), domestic market size index (27th) and available airline seat kilometers (27th).
The report also showed that of the five top-ranked competitive advantages, government budget balance slid down 7 spots from 2016, while domestic market size gained 3 notches from the previous year.
Meanwhile, the country’s bottom indicators included the number of procedures to start a business (ranked last out of 137th), tuberculosis incidence (126th), burden of Customs procedures (125th), business cost of terrorism (125th) and quality of air transport infrastructure (124th).
The Executive Opinion Survey, a major component of the report, showed that the most problematic factors for doing business in the Philippines were inefficient government bureaucracy, inadequate supply of infrastructure, corruption, tax regulations and tax rates.
Singapore remains the most competitive in Asean.
(O.V. Campos, MS)