Implementation of recently-approved reforms should allow the Philippines to post a rebound in the 2020 economic freedom rankings, the Finance department said on Tuesday.
In the Heritage Foundation’s 2019 Index of Economic Freedom covering 186 countries, the Philippines plunged to 70th from 61st with only 2 indicators — property rights and labor freedom — posting positive scores.
The nine-notch decline, based on results released earlier this month, was due to lower scores for government integrity, judicial effectiveness, tax burden, government spending, fiscal health, business freedom, monetary freedom, and trade freedom.
The recent signing of the Personal Property Security Act, the Finance department said, will shore up the country’s property rights score, while the rice tarrification bill will also reduce the penalty for non-tariff barriers in the computation of the trade freedom index.
“We recognize that government should not stand in the way of private sector participation in the economy,” the department added, underscoring the need to implement the TradeNet.ph inititative to cut red tape in the processing of documents by 76 regulatory agencies.
Lastly, it pointed out that last year’s Tax Reform for Acceleration and Inclusion law was implemented to finance developmental goals, among others.
“It is not lost on Train that there is no such thing as a free lunch. Put another way, economic freedom does not come free,” the Finance department said.
The law, which has been blamed for last year’s inflation surge, provided income tax exemptions for those earning P250,000 and below and sought to make up for the revenue loss by imposing new taxes on fuel and sugar-sweetened beverages, among others.