In the recently released World Bank 2012 “Ease of doing business” survey, the Philippines slipped from 134th place to 136. Among the 24 East Asia and Pacific countries, we ranked fifth worst — number 20.
The survey covered 183 countries gauged under these 11 categories: EASE OF DOING BUSINESS RANK, STARTING A BUSINESS, DEALING WITH CONSTRUCTION PERMITS, GETTING ELECTRICITY, REGISTERING PROPERTY, GETTING CREDIT, PROTECTING INVESTORS, PAYING TAXES, TRADING ACROSS BORDERS, ENFORCING CONTRACTS and RESOLVING INSOLVENCY.
This is how we rated in each category among 183 countries and among the 24 East Asia and Pacific countries:
EASE OF DOING BUSINESS RANK136/20
STARTING A BUSINESS 158/23
DEALING WITH CONSTRUCTION PERMITS102/17
REGISTERING PROPERTY 117/19
GETTING CREDIT 126/16
PROTECTING INVESTORS 133/18
PAYING TAXES 136/23
TRADING ACROSS BORDERS 51/8
ENFORCING CONTRACTS 112/17
RESOLVING INSOLVENCY 163/20
The World Bank survey result doesn’t come as a surprise. The categories reflected what many businessmen have been complaining about for decades. The problem remains basically systemic. We have too many procedures and through several decades many of these procedures had mutated into fiefdoms for corrupt bureaucrats, for them to amke money. They make life harder for the businessman, hoping that pressures them to give grease money.
The President Noynoy Aquino (P-Noy) administration will have to immediately address these issues if the government’s “Now open for business” mantra is to resonate. P-Noy should tell his cabinet to simply take their cue from the top two countries — Singapore and Hong Kong SAR — that rated as easiest places for doing business. In the marketing process, you must evolve a product that’s at par with the best in the market, if not better.
A great deal of these pockets of corrupt tyrants could be found at the local level. Many businessmen complain more about local tyrants than those that are found in various national agencies. Offhand, a close coordination between the DILG (Department of the Interior and Local Government) and the DTI (Department of Trade and Industry) should be forged to deal with these issues of local tyranny.
Do you know that a crooked Barangay Captain is capable of harassing a businessman operating within his domain? Your Chair Wrecker personally knows about one such case in Iloilo where a Barangay Captain harassed the Chairman of the Manila-based company because their company didn’t agree to employ the people this Barangay Captain was forcing them to hire.
When the mayor checked on this Barangay Captain, instead of stopping his errant ways, he went on a local media offensive, had the company Chairman declared persona non grata and even posted insulting placards right across the company’s entrance. After you consider that a mere Barangay Captain did this, a wider panorama of the problem that the P-Noy administration has to address forms in your mind.
How many foreign investors do you think will volunteer to suffer all these harassments and indignities when they have options like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore to do business in? We will look pathetic in the eyes of the world if the government brings the national agencies up to par with Singapore and Hong Kong in terms of ease of doing business — only to have a crooked Barangay Captain scuttle all that goodwill.
Three weeks ago, CNN released its World’s 10 Most Hated Airports survey results. According to rank (number 1 is most hated), these were: (10) Sao Paulo-Guarulhos International Airport, Brazil, (9) Perth Airport, Australia, (8) Tribhuvan International, Nepal, (7) John F. Kennedy International, New York USA, (6) Jomo Kenyatta International, Kenya, (5) Ninoy Aquino International, Philippines, (4) Toncontin International, Honduras, (3) London Heathrow, UK, (2) Los Angeles International, USA and (1) Paris-Charles de Gaulle, France.
Per the CNN online report, the negative factors that brought our NAIA (Ninoy Aquino International Airport) Terminal 1 into the Most Hated list were as follows: “Beleaguered by ground crew strikes, unkempt conditions, soup kitchen-style lines that feed into more lines and an overall sense of futility, NAIA brings the term “Stuck in the 1970s” to a new level.
At Terminal 1 all non-Philippine Airlines remain crammed despite serious overcapacity issues and a new and underused Terminal 3 is occupied by a few minor carriers.
A rash of bad press this year (including a “Worst in the World” ribbon from Sleeping in Airports) was capped by a collapsed ceiling in T1, a paralyzing ground services strike at T2, and the usual charges of tampered luggage, filthy restrooms, seat shortages at gates, re-sealed water bottles sold in retail shops and an Amazing Race-style check-in routine spiked with bureaucracy, broken escalators, lengthy Dot Matrix passenger lists and creative airport departure fees.”
For sure, P-Noy is concerned about this rating of our international airport and that’s not just because it is named in honor of his father. His administration pins a lot hope in generating more country visitors and publicity like this, not to mention occasional bombings that spawn travel bans, will kill the marketing plan of Tourism Secretary Mon Jimenez.
The administration cannot take consolation that among the four airports that were more hated than the Philippines were international airports of France, the US and the UK.
* * *