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Saturday, November 26, 2011

QC Govt to improve business licensing procedures in 2012

The Quezon City government vows to improve its business permit and licensing system (BPLS) in 2012 by reducing the length of time in getting clearances. Based from the recent results of Doing Business, Quezon City has 15 procedures and 35 days to issue business permits.

Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista also committed to reduce the steps in acquiring construction permits, which involves 30 steps and 85. He will create a dedicated inspection team to facilitate the processing of several permits.

Bautista also cited the “turf” attitude existing in regulatory offices in city hall as a factor in slow and inefficient procedures in administering business permits. He said “Turfing should be eliminated and agencies should coordinate to improve (business licensing) processes.”

To make these changes possible, Mayor Bautista will create an executive order or approve an ordinance facilitating changes in the business permits and licensing system. The recent Doing Business Survey focused on Quezon City as the sample city for the Philippines, with registered business establishments of 59,712, one of the largest in the country.

The same survey cited one of the significant reforms in the area of resolving insolvency, where the Philippines passed the Financial Rehabilitation and Insolvency Act, which provides a legal framework for liquidation and reorganization of financially distressed companies.

Sylvia Solf, lead author of the Doing Business Survey, cited the increasing number of business registration as a challenge to the country’s business licensing system. The local governments and regulatory offices should work on its procedures to accommodate rising number of establishments acquiring business permits, she said.

Moreover, the co-author of Doing Business Survey, Jean Marie Lobet suggested to remove unnecessary steps to make the procedure less complex, and review the conflicting national and local laws on business regulations.

While Quezon City is focusing on improving its business permits and licensing system, other local governments should also follow suit. DTI Undersecretary Cristino Panlilio said Quezon City’s initiative should be adopted by other LGUs. He added that working on the ease of doing business is a part of attracting investors to the country.

Meantime, Guillermo Luz, Private Sector Co-Chairman of National Competitiveness Council (NCC) said there is a need to identify the problems in the local and national level, and advise the LGUs to institutionalize a system for LGUs that will remain even with changes in the leadership. The NCC will coordinate with Regional Development Councils (RDCs) to work on competitiveness rankings at the local level.

Mr. Luz also linked the improvement of business permits and licensing system with higher revenue collection by the LGUs, and explained that improved rankings will boost country’s ability to attract investments, provide jobs, and eventually translate to a higher GDP and poverty alleviation. Reden Miranda, DTI

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