Competitiveness and attitude

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) has renewed its call to the local government units (LGUs) to improve their positive performance in enhancing competitiveness alongside micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in order to support the national goal of improving the global competitiveness ranking of the country.

The agency gave emphasis on the assistance given to the LGUs in streamlining the business permit licensing system which in several areas around the region has remained a problem thus making it difficult for starters to process their corresponding permits which is more often hounded by the century-old problem of giving “padanlug” in almost every department that the papers pass thru just to make it easier and move faster.

Global competitiveness is benchedmarked through economic dynamism, government efficiency, infrastructure and resiliency. Generally, its about growth of the economy, the cost of doing business, transparency and integrity in enforcing contracts and collecting taxes, viable social services that would include physical structures and the capacity of the economy to facilitate growth despite the challenges.

LGUs have the primary role of being a catalyst of the said benchmarks of competitiveness thus the real challenge as not all places share the same attitude, values and culture.

In Western Visayas alone, the priority of political leaders vary and in several instances appreciate their role in the context of being the ultimate provider instead of being the stimulus than can spark or incite the creativity of people to do their best.

This tendency is limiting the potential of both the people and the local leaders in creating a good business atmosphere that can spur massive economic movement within a locality.

A business-friendly community is one that has the necessary local legislations that provide a venue of support to the MSMEs. LGU funded infrastructures which can be rented out on a discounted rate can help starters a lot or even an LGU-supported business capital mechanism for very able and viable start-ups are necessary in opening bigger opportunities to brighter business ideas without financial support.

LGUs must take a pro-active role in challenging and supporting their people to do business and compete while at the same time creating a balance in enticing established businesses to do business in their areas.

Sadly though, there are LGUs that have failed to date in luring investments and even helping start-ups to find their way in the mainstream despite the legislated benefits for businesses. It is common in these places that the local leaders are asking premiums from investors and some would even go to the level of forcing their way to become part owners or investors.