The Philippines has set a target to be able to implement a “three steps in three days” scheme in registering for businesses in the country by as early as 2017, in a bid to attract more investors to the country.
National Competitiveness Council (NCC) co-chairman for the private sector Guillermo Luz announced this goal in a recent competitiveness meeting, saying that the NCC together with the DTI and other concerned departments, agencies, and local government units pledged to work to further ease the doing business in the country.
Luz, together with Trade Secretary Adrian Cristobal Jr. who is also the NCC co-chairman for the public sector, said the first goal is to reduce the business registration procedures to “six steps in eight days” this year, and then further to “three steps in three days” by 2017, compared to the 16 steps and 29 days of the current business registration process.
“Streamlining the processes has always been a top priority of the government. We have been making significant progress in our commitment to reduce the process from 16 steps and 29 days in 2015, down to 6 steps and 8 days in 2016, and further to 3 steps and 3 days,” Cristobal said.
This would be possible, Luz said, if all the government agencies will comply with the ongoing requirement to have a “one-stop shop, or integrate all their processes into one or two days.”
After integration of government procedures by end-2016, Luz said the Ease of Doing Business Task Force (EoDB) will work on the automation or shift to online processes and applications by 2017.
Cristobal said that the country needs to improve its competitiveness by aggressively pursuing measures and policies to facilitate ease of doing business.
“We are committed to support MSMEs [micro, small and medium enterprises], to make them globally competitive. An important first step is to make it easy for them to set up and comply with government requirements,” Cristobal said.
More than 90 percent of the businesses in the Philippines are MSMEs, which are considered key drivers of growth and employment generation.
The Department of Trade and Industry said the “three steps in three days” scheme would follow this process: Step 1—Register with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), Social Security System (SSS), Philippine Health Insurance Corporation (PhilHealth), and Pag-IBIG through the Integrated Business Registry System (IBRS); Step 2—Obtain barangay clearance and mayor’s permit in just one or two days; and Step 3—Review documents and pay fees.
The IBRS streamlines the business registration process for companies to buy and use point-of-sale cash register machines instead of printing receipts and invoices at BIR-accredited print shops.
Cristobal also cited Quezon City as the pioneer in implementing quick registration for businesses for only three steps in less than three days through its “Business One Stop Shop (BOSS)”.
“Building on the experience of Quezon City’s local government units (LGU), we will continue to advocate for other LGUs to streamline business registration as well,” the trade secretary said.
As of end-2015, 1,456 out of 1,634 LGUs have completed streamlining while a total of 1,403 (92 percent) out of 1,518 were able to comply with Business Permits and Licensing Systems (BPLS) standards, according to the quarterly report by the Department of Interior and Local Goverment’s (DILG) Local Government Academy.
The BPLS standards entail requiring only two signatories for securing permit: from the City Mayor or City Administrator, and Business Permits and Licensing Office (BPLO) Head.
The DTI has been working with the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) and the EoBD Task Force to streamline regulatory procedures including simplifying documentary requirements and implementing regulatory reforms to start a business in the Philippines.
In the past six years, the Philippines has scored high in some competitiveness rankings in the world, including the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report (+38), World Bank-International Finance Corp. (IFC) Doing Business Report (+45), Heritage Foundation’s Economic Freedom Index (+39), and Transparency International Corruption Perception Index (+49).