The Universal Access to Competitiveness and Trade (U-ACT), the think-tank of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) have inked partnership to assess the implementation of SME property rights in the Philippines and advocate legislative reforms in government. The project aims to strengthen property market institutions and the rights of small businesses, and to improve governance practices and access to credit and financing by entrepreneurs.
The Property Rights Scorecard Project is the second phase of CIPE's initiative to examine the functioning of property markets and their institutional underpinnings in the Philippines, focusing on property rights and access to credit for small business in select urban areas. Initial findings have referred to the following issues: the lax in the implementation of the laws on property rights; overlapping functions in property administration where there are 19 agencies involved in property administration and inconsistencies in mandates down to the local level; outdated and conflicting laws that hinder the growth and development of property administration vis-a-vis SME development.
PCCI President Miguel Varela noted that the Philippines can greatly benefit from initiatives like this that support enterprises and promote the development of SMEs.
"We need project like this if we are to improve our competitiveness rankings, improve the way we do business and lower the cost of business transactions," Varela said.
Under the project, U-ACT and CIPE will undertake the following activities: 1. Develop strategic partnership and coordination between National Economic Research and Business Action Centers (NERBAC), local chambers of commerce, the Small and Medium Enterprise Development (SMED) Councils, and representatives from other national government agencies (NGAs) and local government units, to facilitate the streamlining of business processes related to property administration and credit facilitation; 2. Advocate the passage of relevant legislation supportive of SME development and property right protection; and, 3. Conduct a client satisfaction survey to gauge effectiveness of reforms undertaken with reference to property administration.
The project will be implemented until March 2013.