Wednesday July 18, 2018

Chambers spell out what needs to change

BUSINESS chambers in the Visayas issued separate resolutions calling on concerned agencies to speed up changes that will make it easier to do business in the country.

The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) and the business chambers of Bohol, Bacolod, and Siquijor presented the resolutions during the 26th Visayas Area Business Conference last Sept. 29 in the Cebu City Waterfront Hotel and Casino.

CCCI, the largest business chamber in the Visayas, urged the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) to regularly publish a matrix of all fees of shipping lines to assist importers and exporters in choosing which shipping lines offer fair, reasonable and efficient logistics services.

It also requested the Department of Finance (DOF) to address various issues, including the standardization of the length of time and procedures for the processing and release of imported cargo in ports outside Metro Manila. These should be benchmarked with those of the Manila Office of the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR), or “if possible, against best practices in the ASEAN region,” the resolution stated.

CCCI also appealed to the DOF to authorize regional offices of the BIR to accept and process applications and release Importers’ Clearance Certificate (ICC), and for the BOC to do the same for the Brokers Customs’ Clearance (BCC) to make the system more efficient and less costly for importers.

“The current system of a centralized release for the acceptance, processing and releasing of ICC and BCC at the Manila Central Office has caused delays in the movement of goods and supplies, resulting in an increase of storage and detention fees,” said the 104-year-old chamber.

CCCI also expressed support for the immediate implementation of the Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability, a project of the DOF that aims to simplify and harmonize the import and export documentation of regulated projects and automate import and export documentation processes of trade regulatory agencies (TRGAs).

Next, it also appealed that the National Government and the Department of Health (DOH), through the Food and Drugs Administration (FDA), streamline the requirements for the processing of the License to Operate (LTO) and the Certificate of Product Registration (CPR), which would enable local importers and distributors to facilitate the release of their imported raw materials from the ports of entry.

CCCI also requested the FDA to allow its regional offices to process the LTO and the CPR, since the centralized system at present is “costly and burdensome” for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

It recommended that the Department of Budget and Management and other national agencies set specific deadlines for the acceptance and processing of resolutions from the Regional Development Council.