The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) Secretary Ramon Lopez emphasized the relevance of improving the country’s competitiveness, during the ceremonial contract signing on 4 October between the Philippines and the United Kingdom (UK) on a project that aims to provide technical assistance to reduce red tape in the business environment.

Timely and relevant, the UK through the Asia Pacific Bilateral Programme Fund granted technical assistance to the National Competitiveness Council of the Philippines (NCC) to support the Project Repeal, an initiative inspired by the UK’s Red Tape Challenge, which addresses growing need to cut red tape across the bureaucracy.

“Project Repeal, an initiative geared towards eliminating red tape by systematically removing redundant, antiquated and burdensome policies in government agencies shall facilitate us in achieving this end,” Sec. Lopez said.

The trade chief also said that the UK’s assistance, which amounts to £17,969 (approximately PhP 1.1 million) that will run until January 2017, shall capacitate Project Repeal in terms of development, pilot-testing and initial roll-out of the Standard Cost Model.

The Standard Cost Model will provide a statistically valid and reliable method in estimating the regulatory burden imposed by existing regulations on businesses.

The assistance will also be used to conduct a series of activities, including supplementary focus group discussions that will be held in several regions in the country to have a wider stakeholder engagement and ensure the project’s greater impact, according to NCC.

Based on the Global Competitiveness Survey done before the May 9 election, the Philippines slipped 10 notches to 57th place, from 47th place. The trade chief reiterated President Rodrigo Duterte’s marching orders to improve competitiveness and the ease of doing business by reducing the processing time for business licensing and permit system.

Joining Sec. Lopez in the ceremonial signing were UK Ambassador to the Philippines Asif Ahmad, DTI Assistant Secretary Arturo Boncato and Private Sector Chairman of the NCC Guillermo Luz.