Thank you from the NCC
Following the signing of Republic Act No. 11032 (“Ease of Doing Business and Effective Government Service Act”) on May 28 by the President, the new law took effect in June and the Anti-Red Tape Authority and Ease of Doing Business and Anti-Red Tape Advisory Council were established. Though formal appointments haven’t been made yet, this new council will replace and take over the functions of the National Competitiveness Council. In this connection, my post as private sector cochair has come to a close.
It’s been seven exciting and challenging years of work trying to improve the global competitiveness of the country, as well as streamlining government transactions with businesses in order to make doing business in the Philippines easier. Though many people associate competitiveness with ease of doing business, it actually goes much deeper than that. Competitiveness involves establishing an enabling environment for making an economy more productive, from policy to legislation to regulation. It also involves building the right institutions and infrastructure (both physical and soft infrastructure).
At the NCC, we worked on multiple fronts to try to improve the competitiveness of the country. We called these fronts Sectoral, Institutional, Geographic, Process, and Customer-Focus.
On the Sectoral front, the NCC maintained working groups, each cochaired by the public and private sectors. These groups focused on issues in education, governance, infrastructure, energy and other topics. They provided feedback and support to various government agencies on matters large and small that affected our global competitiveness.
On the Institutional front, the Performance Governance System project applied the “Balanced Scorecard” system to national government agencies, local governments, and government-owned and -controlled corporations. PGS measured strategic plan objectives against deliverables and took agencies up a four-step ladder from initiation to institutionalization of their plans.
Agencies which made it to the last stages recruited private sector executives to their advisory boards, and also underwent external audits of their work by professional auditors which we recruited. In 2011, we had six agencies on board. By mid-2018, we had 55 agencies, LGUs and GOCCs enrolled.
On the Geographic front, the NCC set up the Cities/Municipalities Competitiveness Index to measure LGUs. To do this, the NCC established 17 Regional Competitiveness Committees across the country, each cochaired by the public and private sectors. These committees supervised the data collection on LGUs which made setting up the Index possible. An annual award for most competitive LGUs, held every August, has become the highlight of this exercise. Established in 2012, the CMCI gave its first awards in 2013 when 285 LGUs competed. Today, over 1,500 LGUs—more than 90 percent in the country—participate in the CMCI.
On the Process front, the NCC maintained a number of projects. The Ease of Doing Business Task Force focused on introducing reforms to improve our annual EODB ranking in the World Bank-IFC survey. The Business Permits and Licensing System concentrated on streamlining LGU permits. It started with 120 LGUs and now covers all 1,634 LGUs in the country.
Finally, Project Repeal is an effort to cut red tape by repealing outdated regulations. In the last two years, it’s cleaned up almost 6,000 regulations from different agencies. Starting with eight national agencies, almost 80 have now expressed interest to join. This work on the Process front, incidentally, is what eventually led to the passage of the new Ease of Doing Business Act.
And, finally, on the Customer-Focus front, the NCC ran customer experience surveys and field monitoring reports on the LGU permitting process. We also participated in the SWS Annual Enterprise Survey on Corruption across nine selected large cities.
All these could not have been done without large-scale public and private collaboration from national to local levels. And for this, I want to thank everyone who got involved in these and other projects to make the country globally competitive.
Guillermo M. Luz ([email protected]) served as private sector cochair of the National Competitiveness Council from 2011 to 2018.
Business Matters is a Makati Business Club project to share the views of key leaders in the business community. The ideas do not necessarily reflect MBC’s position.
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