Nograles touts gov’t initiatives to boost business sector

MANILA Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Tuesday outlined government efforts to improve the business climate in the country, emphasizing the Duterte administration's commitment to create an environment that will foster the growth of business and contribute to economic progress.

Speaking at the 3rd Cebu Semiconductor and Electronics Convention and Exhibition in Cebu City, Nograles said government "recognizes that the bright prospects of the private sector will only be realized if we are able to properly and decisively address concerns with regard to infrastructure, the regulatory environment, and policy issues that have an effect on your capacity to do business in the country."

"Where regulatory issues are concerned, the President understands that government services should enable business by ensuring transparent, efficient, and effective transactions," said the Palace executive.

"That is why in his State of the Nation Address Monday last week, he made special mention of the need to properly implement the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act, which he signed into law last year, he added.

The lawyer explained that to make it more convenient to do business in the country, the procedures for new and renewal of business permit applications now involve a unified form and require only two signatories at most for approval and must be done within two days or less.

The former legislator said more and more LGUs are improving their business permit and licensing system, with 80 percent of cities and municipalities now compliant with the new standards as of June 1, 2019 with that government expecting 100 percent compliance by next year.

Nograles also reiterated that topping the administration's economic agenda is the passage of its second tax reform package, known as the Tax Reform for Attracting Better and High-Quality Opportunities or TRABAHO, which will reduce the corporate income tax rate from 30 to 20 percent.

"The TRABAHO bill intends to broaden the tax base by removing some of the preferential or lower corporate tax rates under the Tax Code and setting stricter rules on transactions between related parties. Another part of the TRABAHO bill that will significantly broaden the tax base is the rationalization of tax incentives by making them performance-based, targeted, time-bound, and transparent," he said.

Aside from these, the implementation of high-impact flagship projects needed to propel the development of emerging economic hubs outside Metro Manila, Nograles said, "will bring development closer to Filipinos nationwide through more and better jobs, robust economic activities, and improved services."

"As a concrete manifestation of our resolve to usher in the golden age of infrastructure, we have increased the budget for infrastructure from an actual obligation of PHP991.3 billion in 2017 to PHP1.094 trillion in 2018," Nograles said.

"These are equivalent to 6.3 percent and 6.2 percent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2017 and 2018, respectively. In 2019, the allocation for the sector amounts to PHP816.2 billion. Thus far, our average budget for infrastructure development the past three years is 5.6 percent of GDP a far cry from the previous administration's average of 2.8 percent of GDP," he added.

Nograles said positive developments in recent months have reinforced the government's belief that with the help of the private sector, the country can sustain its economic gains.

Among those cited by Nograles are the upgrade in the country's investment grade credit rating from BBB in 2018 to BBB+ in 2019 by Standard and Poor's, the Philippines' BBB credit rating given by Fitch, and the ranking of the country in the 2018 World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report which ranked the Philippines ranked 56th out of 140 countries and fifth out of the nine ASEAN countries, rising 12 places.

"Given the foregoing, the President and the Cabinet's record-high approval ratings are a vote of confidence that continue to motivate us to do everything in our power, to do what must be done, to create an environment conducive to industry, employment, and inclusive growth, Nograles said. (PR)

Source: Philippines News Agency

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