PH moves to further simplify business permits, licensing

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THE Departments of Trade and Industry (DTI), Interior and Local Government (DILG), and Information and Communication Technology (DICT) signed on Tuesday a joint memorandum circular (JMC) enjoining all cities and municipalities in the country to further streamline their business permits and licensing system (BPLS) using the revised standard.

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“The JMC will take effect immediately; the execution is within 30 days. They [local government offices]will be adjusting their templates, systems and setting up the layout of the office,” Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez told reporters in an interview.

Under the new JMC, local governments are directed cut processing time for permits and licenses to two days for new business registration and one day for renewals.

The number of procedures for registration has been set at a maximum of three steps for both new applicants and renewals.

All local governments are also directed to use a unified form, both in print and electronic form, with only two (from eight) signatories (Mayor and Treasurer/business permits and licensing head with alternate approving signatories) required for business permits.

Before the issuance of the JMC, a similar instruction was issued by the DTI and DILG in 2010 to local governments to facilitate business registration by streamlining transactions. The 2010 directive set the processing time to five to 10 days, the maximum number of procedures at five, a unified application form, and only two signatories to be able to register a business.

In addition to streamlining, the circular also recommends that local governments automate and computerize business transactions to be able to hasten frontline services.

As of June 2016, a majority of the local governments across the country have complied with the 2010 circular.
According to DILG-Local Government Academy, a total of 1,419 (93 percent) out of 1,516 local governments (excluding Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao local governments) were reported to have completed the streamlining program.

The National Competitiveness Council (NCC) believes that automation of government transactions will bring substantial improvement in terms of speed and efficiency of rendering services, and will make it possible for local governments to achieve one-day business registration.

“This will improve our standing, but I want to emphasize that this will not improve standing overnight. It takes a long time to get the ratings. It will take awhile to build the effect,” said Guillermo Luz, NCC co-chairman.
“We’re trying to start both [at the]national level and local level,” he added.

For 2015, the Philippines ranks 103rd in the Ease of Doing Business Report published by the World Bank-International Finance Corp. In particular, the country performed poorly in the “Starting a Business” indicator, where it slipped eight places to 165th from 157th in the previous year.

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