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Cebu’s competitiveness drops; chamber lists obstacles

Updated: Nov 3, 2019

Cebu City (Ventures Cebu photo)

As Cebu’s competitiveness declines, members of the Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) identify the top three obstacles to business and list areas for public-private collaboration to boost competitiveness.

Based on a survey that interviewed 204 business owners and executives, the top three obstacles to doing business in Cebu are:

  1. Government regulations and elements of corruption;

  2. High cost of utilities and supplies; and

  3. Lack of quality physical and technological infrastructure.

The respondents also identified two major concerns on ease of doing business, namely, transparency of dealings with various government agencies, and informal payments.

To boost Cebu’s competitiveness, CCCI had identified five areas of collaboration with the government:

  1. Establishment of Investment Concierge Center;

  2. Anti-Red Tape Agency (ARTA) collaboration desk;

  3. Streamlining and digitizing the business permit and licensing system;

  4. Expanded incentive and assistance program for SMEs and start-ups; and

  5. Creation of Cebu business advisory council/committee.

A CCCI statement said these measures were identified based on several roundtable discussions with business owners and consultations with key stakeholders.

Competitiveness Index

Cebu’s competitiveness score has dropped based on the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index (CMCI).

In 2015, both Cebu Province and Cebu City ranked third among provinces and highly urbanized cities, respectively.

Cebu Province, with a score of 36.654, then came after Davao del Sur (No. 1) and Misamis Oriental (No. 2) while Cebu City scored 51.1894 and followed Manila (No. 1) and Makati (No. 2).

The next year, 2016, Cebu Province suffered a huge drop as it ranked 31st, or 28 notches down, with its score going down to 24.5965.

Cebu City also slipped, but only by 3 notches to settle at 6th place, after Quezon, Makati, Manila, Pasig and Davao, in that order. Its score was 41.3616.

In 2017, Cebu province slid further to rank 44th among the provinces, with an overall competitiveness score of 32.75

Cebu City also slipped again, this time by 8 notches to settle at 13th place, with a score of 44.8478.

In 2018, Cebu province slightly recovered and climbed 19 slots to rank 25th with a score of 37.0401.

Cebu City, on the other hand, broke into the top 10 again and ranked 9th with a score of 49.8679.

The city scored high in economic dynamism, infrastructure and resiliency but lagged in government efficiency.

For this year, 2019, neither Cebu province nor Cebu City made it to the top 3. The Department of Trade and Industry has yet to release the rankings of all the 1,518 cities and municipalities covered by the index.

Four towns - Liloan, San Remigio, Ronda and Poor - and one component city, Toledo, were counted among the top 3 local governments in their respective categories.

Related story: 4 towns, 1 city in Cebu among most competitive local governments

CCCI survey

The CCCI had commissioned the survey, which was conducted by Isla Lipana & Company, the Philippine unit of global auditing firm PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) International Limited, “to get the pulse of the Cebu business community on which areas they think are critical to boost the competitiveness of their businesses and Cebu as a whole.”

A total of 204 business owners and senior executives shared their views on issues affecting compliance, business confidence and growth ambitions.

Based on the survey, the top 3 identified enablers for business are:

  1. Linkages, partnerships and business networks

  2. Lower cost of doing business and easier compliance with regulations; and

  3. Access to credit and marketing facilities

A little more than half, or 53%, of the respondents were very confident that their business will grow in the next 3 years.

The other half, 49%, were very confident about the prospects and overall competitiveness of Cebu in the next 3 years. (Ventures Cebu)

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