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Competitive upgrade for Philippines elates Palace

/ 02:18 AM September 09, 2011

Malacañang expressed elation over the findings of the World Economic Forum whose Global Competitiveness Report for 2011-2012 saw the Philippines rising 10 spots from 85th last year to 75th this year.

Presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda said the report cited the country for its improved national savings, managed inflation, low-interest rate environment, lower debt-to-GDP ratio, and “most prominently,” four credit-ratings upgrade in just one year.

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“This is thus far our highest ever improvement, and one of the highest ranking improvements by any country in the world in the past year,” Lacierda said at a news briefing in Malacañang.

Lacierda said that since June last year, the Aquino administration had been very active in showing the world that the Philippines was open for business.

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“Thus, it is good to see that our efforts have manifested themselves in these rankings, particularly in the area of macroeconomic environment in which we jumped 14 places to 54th in the world,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda said the country’s rankings also improved in areas like competitive trade tariffs, number of days to start a business, public trust in politicians and transparency in policy making.

Challenges remain

“We are aware that the work does not end here. The report acknowledges that there remain challenges for us to hurdle and we agree. We assure the Filipino people that while substantial progress has been made, the Aquino administration continues its work to further improve the lives of its people,” Lacierda said.

Lacierda called on all stakeholders—both in government and in the private sector—“to continue fulfilling their part in our collective responsibilities so that we can give our people the quality of life they rightfully deserve.”

The administration, however, has been criticized for putting off the spending of billions of pesos in the national budget and for not implementing projects that could help stimulate the economy.

Amid the criticism, President Aquino underscored the importance of the need to scrutinize first government projects for the benefit of the greater good.

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Speaking before supporters and volunteers of his 2010 presidential campaign in Dumaguete City on Wednesday, the President said the projects must be examined to avoid double payments.

Scrutinizing projects

Aquino said Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson had found out that about 70 percent of allocated funds were for projects that had been finished.

“So (Singson) thought it best to study these projects because we may have payments there twice,” Aquino said.

Aquino noted that his administration’s scrutiny of the projects was easily hit by critics as an example of government underspending and thus, would not help the economy.

“But really, if there is corruption, if the people’s money has been pocketed … I think it’s better to delay projects, study them to ensure that this will really benefit the country,” Aquino said.

Early this week, some senators chided administration officials for planning to raise fares at the Light Rail Transit and Metro Trail Transit when the administration was not spending enough.

Senator Ralph Recto said at a Senate hearing on the proposed P1.8-trillion budget for 2012 that there was no compelling reason to increase fares because the government was not even spending the present budget.

What is it?

The Global Competitiveness Report is an annual index published by the World Economic Forum. The report aims to mirror the business environment of economies worldwide.

The report is based on 12 “pillars,” or major categories, which are divided into three major areas: basic requirements, efficiency enhancers and innovation, and sophistication factors.

The first area covers institutions, infrastructure, macroeconomic stability, health and primary education.

The second area covers higher education and training, goods-market efficiency, labor-market efficiency, financial-market sophistication, technological readiness, and market size.

The third area covers business sophistication and innovation.

Highest since 1994

In its latest report, the World Economic Forum said the Philippines posted “one of the largest improvements in this year’s rankings” among the 142 economies surveyed from March to April.

The country has climbed 10 spots to No. 75 in the 2011-2012 report due to significant gains in macroeconomic environment, technological readiness and goods-market efficiency. The Philippines ranked 85th among 139 countries covered in 2010.

The jump was the highest for the Philippines since it entered the survey in 1994.—Reports from Norman Bordadora and Christine O. Avendaño and Inquirer Research

Sources: PDI Archives, weforum.org, usaid.gov

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TAGS: competitiveness, global competitiveness report, Philippines, rankings, World Economic Forum
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