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PH climbs 4 notches in Doing Business Report 2017

MANILA -- The Philippines has increased its ranking in the Doing Business Report 2017 by four notches to rank 99 from rank 103 last year. The Doing Business Report measures ease of doing business in an economy in areas such as starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. The report was released by the World Bank-International Finance Corporation in Washington Tuesday afternoon (Wednesday midnight in Manila). The improvements in ranking of the country is attributed to four gains out of the ten indicators. These gains include: protecting minority investors, up by 18 notches to rank 137 from rank 155; dealing with construction permits, up by 14 notches to 85th place from 99th place; paying taxes, …

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Embracing the future of workspaces

These days, it’s no longer surprising to see employees of different firms sharing a single workspace rather than cloistered in their own office buildings or units. This trend of “coworking,” first set up in San Francisco in 2005, arose with the advent of globalization, technological advances and sharing economy, further enhancing worker mobility and flexible work arrangements. Research data show coworking players worldwide will more than double this year—from 7,800 at the start of 2016 to 16,100 at year-end. Also, an estimated 3.8 million people are expected to work in coworking spaces by 2020, four times the number today at 976,000. Riding the wave Many business startups in South East Asia now embrace this trend. U.S. real estate services firm Cushman & Wakefield projects coworking spaces to comprise 15 percent of the region’s total …

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The rise of boutique accounting services

If the huge demand for accountants were the basis for growth of businesses in this country, then, indeed, we have a thriving entrepreneurial Filipinos.  Not only Filipinos at that but many foreign firms building their presence here and are outsourcing their financial and accounting functions. This practice was made more prevalent starting 2005. Macky C. Katigbak, who hails from a family of accountants, saw and grabbed this opportunity to set up his own enterprise, the E-Manage, Inc. THE COMPANY E-Manage, Inc. (EMI) was founded in 2002 as a boutique outsourcing company that caters to the needs for accounting, tax, and legal services for foreign and local companies. Since then, E-Manage has been servicing many small to medium companies that are looking for specialized solutions for their individual accounting needs. Its team consists of CPAs, tax …

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BDO Securities sees PSEi at 8,700 in 2017

The Philippine Stock Exchange index (PSEi) will manage to close at the around the 7,800 level this year and surge 12 percent to around 8,700 in 2017 on the back of strong growth in corporate profits. "Because we think earnings growth next year will be around 10 to 11 percent. We think market multiple will hold at roughly the same level," said Banco de Oro (BDO) Securities Corporation Research Head Dante Tinga Jr. during the launch of BDO Nomura Securities, Inc. He said price to earnings ratio is seen to settle at around 18 to 18.5 times earnings per share amids the backdrop of low interest rates. "We're looking at around 8 to 9 percent earnings growth this year. Last year’s growth averaged 5 percent, so there is an uptrend in terms of …

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DOF proposes higher VAT exemption threshold for MSMEs

The Department of Finance (DOF) is proposing to widen the value-added tax (VAT) exemption threshold for micro-, small- and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to lessen the impact of higher fuel levies on low cost businesses. During the Senate inquiry on the DOF’s tax reform plan, Finance Undersecretary Karl Kendrick T. Chua told lawmakers that they are proposing to exempt entrepreneurs with annual gross revenues of P3 million or less from paying the 12 percent VAT. Under the proposal, Chua said the VAT threshold on business’ goods and services would be increased from the current P1.9 million. “The protection really comes from the increase in their VAT threshold to P3 million so that the micro and small enterprises with gross sales of at most P3 million will not be affected by the broadening of the …

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New WESM design to improve market trading efficiencies

The new design of the trading platform of the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM) will expectedly improve efficiencies in the buying and selling of power commodity and will similarly bring the maturity of the deregulated electricity sector to higher notches. One of the key features of the WESM’s new market management system (NMMS) will be the shortened dispatch interval – that was originally from one hour to just five minutes, parallel to practice in more mature jurisdictions, such as Australia. With that, WESM operator Philippine Electricity Market Corporation (PEMC) noted that inter-hour deviations and imbalances in power trading would be lessened. Additionally, the system improvement calls for a “single pricing mechanism as a result of the shortened dispatch interval that will no longer require ex-post runs.” Prior to the changes, WESM pricing had …

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SEC runs after ‘5-6’ lenders

The days of “five-six money lenders” lurking across the country are numbered as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) began to take a closer look on actions it could possibly perform to bust entities engaged in the said illegal activity. SEC said it has recently received reports that many individuals, particularly the "five-six money lenders," are now engaged in the business of lending without authority to do so, thus violating the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007. In five-six, the lender, usually Indian nationals, charges interest as high as 20 percent. It simply states that when you borrow P5.00, you have to pay P6.00. Under the Lending Company Regulation Act of 2007, it is illegal to act as a lending company or investor unless registered with the Commission as a lending company. It specified …

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Remembering the good

Like President Duterte, I was also denied a US visa.  The US consul must have thought that the probability is much higher for  a single woman without much assets to become a "t and t" (tago ng tago or an illegal alien).    But I do not begrudge the US immigration officers for staying faithful to their duties.  The screening of desirable and undesirable foreigners starts at their level.  To this day, I am still apprehensive that they will not find enough reason to believe that living in the United States is farthest  from my desire. I have also been detained at Immigration offices for carrying the wrong type of visa. I have been questioned and subjected to unscheduled health examinations.  But I have tried my best not to allow my personal …

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Companies seeking consultation before DENR’s ECC audit

Companies holding environmental permits, but not engaged in the mining business, want to hold dialogues with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ensure smooth compliance with government regulations. To ensure other business will not suffer the "chaotic" fate of some mining companies, a number of businessmen now want to meet with the DENR for a proper consultation before the agency starts its "intense evaluation" of their environmental compliance certificates (ECCs). Business groups fear that other industries, including property, manufacturing, infrastructure, construction, and power, could be interrupted once the DENR starts the reevaluation. "I don’t believe the guidelines on the intense evaluation on ECCs beside mining have been discussed with other sectors . There should be consultation first before implementing,”  Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) President George Barcelon told …

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Mindanao’s base load power investments on halt for 7-10 years

Investments for base load power plants in Mindanao will be on standstill for the next 7-10 years given the overcapacity situation that the grid will be putting up with in the short- to medium term. This has been the assessment of Alsons Energy Development Corporation of the Alcantara group – a company of which power investments had been concentrated in Mindanao grid. “Speaking only of Mindanao, there will be no need for new baseload capacity in the next seven to 10 years,” Alsons Power Group Vice President for Business Development Joseph C. Nocos said. He noted “Mindanao will have enough power supply to support its development plans.” This is a shared prognosis by many power project developers in Mindanao, with the grid now seeing at least 50-percent overcapacity in supply. Nocos further qualified “the …

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