The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) said the landmark Fair Competition Act would attract more investments and economic activities into the country and strengthen the foundations for sustained and inclusive growth.
The bill, which has been pending in Congress for the last 24 years, now awaits President Aquino’s signature to be enacted into law.
Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said in a statement the enactment of the law would not only sustain but bolster a rapidly growing Philippine economy.
“As the bill levels the playing field among businesses, we can expect an increased level of confidence among the international business community, and thus lead to a surge of investments and economic activity, and an expanded logistical capacity,” he said.
After 24 years in Congress, the bicameral conference committee finally overcame the hurdles concerning contentious provisions last June 10.
The bill is one of the numerous reforms in governance and the economy that would encourage more investments, Balisacan said.
The policy seeks to eliminate unfair business practices among competitors such as engaging in agreements that restrict market competition by having fixed prices for goods and services, dividing the market among themselves, or controlling production.
It also prohibits the abuse of dominant position by selling goods and services at a below-cost price with the intention of driving out competition then increasing the price thereafter, or imposing unreasonable conditions on transactions and keeping producers at a losing end by enforcing low purchase prices for their goods and services, among others.
All these, in turn, will protect consumers and the economy from unfair competition in the business landscape.
“The passage of this bill follows NEDA’s advocacy to remove or amend some existing laws and regulations that have become irrelevant or unenforceable. It is also aligned with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) which identified this law as a measure that will improve the country’s business climate,” said Balisacan, who is also the NEDA director-general.
While the Competition bill will certainly help the country move forward, the Cabinet Secretary said efforts will remain focused on implementing key reforms in the country.
Other economic bills being pushed by NEDA and business groups include the amendment on the Cabotage Law, the Tax Incentives Transparency and Management Act (TIMTA), and the Customs and Tariff Modernization Act.
The Cabotage Law seeks to allow the entry and movement of foreign cargo vessels between ports within the country, as well as lower the cost of shipping containerized export and import cargoes.
The TIMTA seeks to promote proper management of tax incentives given by the government through developing a means to measure amount of fiscal perks provided to firms to be able to analyze the fiscal cost and optimize its economic impact.
Meanwhile, the proposed Customs Modernization and Tariff Act seeks to make the Bureau of Customs compliant with global customs administration standards.
“The task at hand is to increase investments, address gaps in our economic system, and reduce barriers hampering productivity and growth in the country. These will allow us to increase opportunities for shared prosperity, sustain our gains, and lead us to an even higher growth path,” Balisacan noted.
Source: Philippine Star