PHL’s economic freedom ranking improves



Through Jenina P. Ibañez, Journalist

The PHILIPPINES economic freedom rankings rose four places after improving ‘sound currency’ scores measuring inflation and money growth, according to a global report that measured data for 2019.

The Economic Freedom of the World report released Tuesday by Canada’s conservative think tank Fraser Institute said the Philippines ranked 58e out of 165 jurisdictions in 2019 compared to adjusted 2018 data, with a score that increased from 0.8 to 7.42.

The report measures economic freedom based on five categories, in which the Philippines performed best in “solid money”, with higher scores on inflation measures.

Philippines climbs economic freedom list

The country maintained its score of 7.08 in international trade and increased its regulatory score to 7.48 from 7.45 thanks to improved regulation of the credit market and private sector credit.

The legal system and property rights were still the lowest score in the country at 4.41, although it fell from 4.31 to greater judicial independence. The size of the Philippine government score fell to 8.39 due to government consumption.

The index measures voluntary exchange, freedom to enter markets and competition, and security of private property. The economies with the highest scores are Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand, Switzerland and Australia.

“The apparent heightened insecurity of property rights and the weakening of the rule of law caused by Chinese government interventions in 2020 and 2021 will likely have a negative impact on Hong Kong’s score, especially in Zone 2,” legal system and property rights moving forward, ”the report says.

“A number of developing countries have a small fiscal size of government but a low rate in other areas and, therefore, a low overall score.”

Despite improving year over year, the Filipino score is lower than its score of 7.45 in 2015, in which it ranked 52sd. Its scores declined in government size and regulation categories, as well as the legal system and property rights, in which judicial independence, integrity of the legal system, and police reliability ratings fell. .

The University of Asia and the Pacific’s senior economist, Cid L. Terosa, said institutional reforms to the justice system can help the Philippines improve perception.

“Perceptions of the impartiality of the justice system are closely linked to perceptions that influence trafficking and military interference in the rule of law and politics have intensified. The reliability of the police, especially in carrying out activities aimed at eradicating social ills, has been intensely questioned both nationally and internationally, ”Terosa said in an email.

“Regarding the size of government, I believe there are perceptions that the government has not done enough to eradicate socio-economic problems. Although the government has implemented sweeping tax reforms and stepped up investments in capital formation, many continue to believe that their impact has yet to be maximized. “

UnionBank of the Philippines, Inc. Chief Economist Ruben Carlo O. Asuncion said in an email that the country still has work to do in terms of institutional strength.

“From my own reading, I have come to understand that the strength of institutions in a country is a function of economic freedom. This means that the stronger the institutions we have, the more a level of economic freedom can be achieved, ”he said.

Mr Asuncion recommended changes to the electoral process and a “big push for the digitization and transformation of processes should be made to eliminate red tape and corruption”.

British Chamber of Commerce Philippine Executive Director Chris Nelfils said in a telephone interview that the country should review regional trade agreements to improve its ranking.

“The other one that I think will be important in the future is all the Philippines has done to digitize the economy because it is is obviously going to be a critical factor.


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