The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG), the Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) recently signed a joint memorandum circular that will streamline business permits and licensing system using a revised standard.
From the previous five to 10 days, the new standard now requires the processing of business permits at local governments units (LGU) to take no more than two days.
Renewals of permits were also cut from five days at most of processing time to no more than a day.
DILG Secretary Ismael Sueno said he hopes the shortening of business licensing procedures will attract more local and foreign investors to do business in the country.
Under the circular, the LGUs are also compelled to computerize their respective business licensing processes with the aid of the DICT, which is now piloting a paperless registration system in Rizal province.
Guillermo Luz, co-chairman of the National Competitiveness Council, said the use of ICT tools will avoid queues, the bane of entrepreneurs.
It, however, may take time for the LGUs to familiarize themselves with the new system even if the circular immediately takes effect.
Luz expects the circular to be followed nationwide within the year.
“We should see some improvement but it takes just a little while to roll out the programs and scale them up,” he said.
The DILG said it will go after LGUs that will not live up to the standard.
“If there are local executives who will not implement this, we will charge them,” Sueno warned.
On the other end, Garry Domingo, chief of the Business Permit and Licensing Office (BPLO) of Quezon City, said business permits in the city may be released within the day if requirements for such permits are in order.
“We have to consider if the applicants have submitted all the requirements. They will certainly receive their business permits even on the same day as long as they comply with all the required documentation and regular fees mandated by law,” said Domingo.
Entrepreneurs and investors have long complained about the circuitous and long processing time of acquiring business permits at the local level.
Red tape is forcing businessmen to deal with fixers, who supposedly connive with unscrupulous personnel of the LGUs to make money.