Cost, ease of doing business top CCCI prexy’s to-do list
Going back to the basics of doing business is the main thrust of newly elected Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) President Antonio Chiu.
Chiu, 60, is managing several businesses mostly in the manufacturing sector.
He is the president of Anilson Packaging Solutions Inc., Nutrivalue Technologies Inc., Cebu Grand Industries Inc., Coastal Highpoint Ventures Inc., and RLC Coastal Estates; and is also a senior consultant of Taiheiyo Cement Philippines.
At the same time, Chiu is an honorary consul of the Slovak Republic, a post he has held since the late 90s.
“Since I come from the manufacturing sector, you can be sure I would go back to our core values and the core directions of the chamber. We have diversified into so much, but we need to revisit our core objectives: cost of doing business and ease of doing business,” he said in a meeting with reporters last Saturday.
Chiu took over after immediate past President Melanie Ng and his term is effective starting March until February 2019.
Together with the new board of trustees (BOT), Chiu was sworn into office by the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Vice President for the Visayas Samuel Chioson last February 28.
In a statement, Ng said she welcomed the election of Chiu whom she deemed would lead the chamber to “greater heights” together with the new set of BOT.
In response, Chiu vowed to continue the programs of Ng especially since he was also active during her administration as vice president for finance.
But Chiu also has programs and plans of his own. Among his biggest ones is to help spur industries outside of Metro Cebu cities like Cebu and Mandaue.
“We started setting up factories outside Cebu City. It is one way of dispersing the industry and giving jobs to the countryside. But business taxes in faraway places are very expensive,” he said adding that Cebu City’s business taxes are even cheaper than far towns in the province.
The reason for this, he explained, is that developed cities like Cebu City have implemented a graduated tax collection for businesses where for those with higher gross sales, the tax rate is reduced.
On the other hand, local government units in the rest of the province usually implement only one uniform tax rate across all businesses.
While government officials are strongly pushing for countryside development and dispersal of industries, he said situations like this can hinder businesses.
“They don’t actually have to repeal that tax rate. They just have to put in more categories,” he said.
This is why part of Chiu’s plans is for the CCCI to set a meeting with the Cebu Provincial government, led by Gov. Hilario Davide III, to look into this concern by the business sector.
Chiu said this could be done by putting up an investment manual for the province for officials to realize that doing businesses in other towns would be “very expensive.”
Another concern, Chiu said, that he would want the CCCI to actively look into would be the problem of traffic in Cebu.
He said businesses in Cebu are really experiencing revenue losses due to the greater time it would take to transport goods and people because of worsening traffic congestion and gridlocks.
“There are really losses, big losses and time wasted. How do you value your time? It’s difficult to put a number there. But we all know it is huge,” he said.
He also said that the chamber had been talking among the business community people, especially those who had been affected by the traffic, to find out how they could help address the traffic woes of Metro Cebu and in the actual implementation of infrastructure projects.
However, he said these were things he could not divulge yet.
He also assured that more projects were coming to Cebu especially those that the chamber had been pushing for.
Chiu is a chemical engineering graduate of the University of the Philippines (UP) Diliman in 1978. He also has masters degrees in business management from UP Cebu in 1983 and in strategic business economics from the University of Asia and the Pacific in 2000.
After he graduated, he immediately joined their family business which was then in wood processing.
In the 90s, they set up Grand Cement in San Fernando town which was eventually sold to Japanese investors in 2000. It is now the Taiheiyo Cement Philippines which he has continued to work with as consultant.
Now, Chiu said he is starting his own first-generation business where his wife and three children are part of the shareholders.
He was a trustee of the CCCI in 2010.
In 2013, he tried to run for president of the chamber after the term of former President Lito Maderazo. But after finding out that two other members wanted to run for president back then, he decided to back out.
Ma. Teresa Chan eventually became the president that time.
Other newly elected CCCI officers are Ronald Po (vice president for finance and administration services), Charles Kenneth Co (vice president for external affairs and relations), Virgilio Espeleta (vice president for business development and management services), Edward Vincent Onglatco (vice president for membership development), Rey Maximo Eleccion (treasurer), and Thomas Riveral (board secretary).
Trustees for the industry, trade, service, sectoral, and ICT sectors were also elected.
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