By Elijah Felice Rosales, May 29 2019; Business Mirror

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THE Philippines climbed four notches to 46th among 63 economies in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking 2019 on improvements in economic performance, government and business efficiency and infrastructure buildup.

In the 2019 cycle of the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking, the Philippines jumped to 46th, from 50th in the 2018 edition. However, when pitted against regional neighbors, the country placed 13th among 14 Asia-Pacific economies included in the study.

The rise was a result of the Philippines posting growth in all four indicators measured by the report, namely, economic performance, government efficiency, business efficiency and infrastructure.

Manila jumped the highest in economic performance to 38th, from 50th last year, on better domestic economy, foreign investment and employment. However, the country got lower rankings in international trade and price stability.

Business efficiency went up six notches to 32nd on higher rankings in labor market and attitudes and values, while retaining its previous standing in finance and management practices.

In government efficiency on improved fiscal policy, business legislation and societal framework, the Philippines moved to 41st, from 44th in the previous cycle. However, contractions were recorded in the country’s public finance and institutional framework.

The Philippines scored its lowest indicator in infrastructure. It only outdid its 2018 ranking by one notch to 59th.

Under infrastructure, the country got slightly better rankings in technological infrastructure, scientific infrastructure and education. On the other hand, it retained its standing in basic infrastructure and received worse in health and environment.

According to the survey, competitiveness challenges this year for the Philippines are “the need to speed up and sustain investments in physical infrastructure,” as well as “inadequate investment in human capital.”

It also flagged Manila’s poor digital innovation and readiness for products of the future and the need to sustain investor and consumer confidence. Moreover, the report cited persistent political risks in the country, which could take a toll on its competitiveness.