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Biz permit OK in 30 days bill gets business heads support

By: Victor Anthony V. Silva September 04,2017 - 10:38 PM


Local business leaders backed the bill mandating automatic approval of business permit applications after 30 days of inaction as it gains ground in Congress, saying it has been a long time coming for such measure.

While Gordon Alan Joseph, president of the Cebu Business Club (CBC), believes the bill is already long overdue, he said 30 days is too long.

“It’s a half-baked target. The Philippines does poorly versus the rest of Asia when it comes to ease of doing business,” he said in a text message to Cebu Daily News.

In the 2016-2017 Edition of the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, the Philippines ranked 137th out of 138 economies in the number of procedures to start a business, and 115th as to the length of time to start one.

Meanwhile, in the World Bank’s “Ease of Doing Business” survey, the country went down four spots from number 95 in 2015 to 99 in 2017 out of 190 economies.

In its second meeting under the Duterte administration, the Legislative-Executive Advisory Council (LEDAC) approved last week the Common Legislative Agenda (CLA) for the 17th Congress.

According to the National Economic and Development Authority (Neda), the CLA consists of 28 priority measures, 14 of which were recommended by the LEDAC Executive Committee as urgent last July to emphasize the necessity of having them passed within the year.

Necessary bills have been filed for all measures in both houses of Congress, and 10 are already in advance stages of legislation, including the Ease of Doing Business Act.

The Ease of Doing Business or Fast Business Permit Act seeks to reduce wait times for businesses for their permits.

For Joseph, however, what the country needs are drastic practical measures to improve the entire bureaucracy that will force local government units to streamline and make quantum leaps in efficiency.

He added that there is just too much bureaucracy in government at the moment and that the whole process of securing a business permit is too tedious.

“In many Asian countries, it takes 1 to 10 days only, not 30 (days),” he said.

Teodoro Locson, Jr., Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) vice president for external affairs, on the other hand, said that a period of 30 days is only reasonable because it is what is being done by some government agencies and that this would be acceptable to some sectors.

Locson said the CCCI fully supports the measure because it was seen to provide ease of doing business, especially for new micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

In an earlier statement, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said improving the ease of doing business is highlighted as a development priority of the Duterte administration.

He said they seek to simplify government transactions through the reduction of documentary requirements, steps, processing time, and number of signatories for registration documents.

Pernia added that as the country targets the full implementation of the Philippine Business Registry (PBR) by 2020, 20 LGUs are being prepared this year to be connected to the PBR “for them to facilitate start-ups and help reduce transaction costs.”

Other measures included in the CLA, which are in advanced stages of legislation are the Comprehensive Tax Reform; National Land Use Act; Rightsizing of the National Government; Amendments to the NIA Charter RE: Free Irrigation Act; National Mental Health Care Delivery System; Occupational Safety and Health Hazards Compliance; Strengthening the Balik-Scientist Program; Philippine Qualifications Frameworks; and Social Security Act Amendments.

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TAGS: 30, bill, biz, business, days, gets, ok, permit

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