THE newly-signed Ease of Doing Business Act (Edba) of 2018 will boost the local business-enabling environment in the country, including Negros Occidental, an official of the Metro Bacolod Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MBCCI) said Tuesday, May 29.
Frank Carbon, chief executive officer of MBCCI, said the legislation that would streamline doing business will attract more investors, especially foreign companies, to come and invest in Negros.
Carbon, also the regional governor of the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) in Western Visayas, said the law would also enable the private sector to maximize its potential in contributing to economic growth.
"Growth results from more investments, which will come from the private sector. Thus, you have to make it easy for them to invest and operate as soon as possible with less hassle and corruption," he told SunStar Bacolod.
President Rodrigo Duterte on Monday, May 29 signed Republic Act 11032 in the bid to correct red tape continuously hounding government institutions.
The law, which amends and expands Anti-Red Tape Act of 2007, mandates government agencies to process simple transactions within three days, complex transactions within seven days, and highly-technical transactions within 20 days.
Duterte, in a report, said Edba has been long overdue. This addresses the failure of the previous legislation to solve the perennial problem of red tape in the government.
"This law will introduce simplified requirements and streamlined procedures that will finally spare our people from the intolerable waiting time and long lines in frontline government agencies," he added.
Republic Act 11032 also seeks to limit the number of signatories for applications for licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, and authorizations to a maximum of three.
Under which, electronic signatures shall also be recognized and a zero-contact policy shall be implemented to avoid improprieties.
It also mandates local governments to automate their business permit and licensing systems, set up one-stop business facilitation services, and use online unified business application forms.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is tasked to automate business-related transactions through web-based software and technological platforms.
The local business leader pointed out that the country's permitting system has been discouraging businesses to invest and expand.
Carbon said that power generation plants, for instance, in order to get permits need to have about 200 signatures from the barangay in at least six-month processing period.
This is causing delays to the projects, he said, adding that "imagine how much savings can we have if the six to 10 months needed for processing will be cut into one or two months."
"By enabling investors to easily come in, we are also benefiting the locals through job generation," Carbon said.
Aside from the power industry, most developments in Negros Occidental are into tourism, and business process outsourcing.
Carbon believes that if permits for hotels, resorts, and other establishments can be acquired in less than a month, businesses can immediately start their operations.
Despite how "very good" is a new law, the business sector believes that it cannot still serve its purpose when problems on enforcement persist.
The MBCCI official said red tape starts in the local government units (LGUs), particularly in the barangay level.
Carbon said the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) therefore will play an important role in the strict implementation of the provisions of the law.
Another body should focus on the enforcement among the national government agencies, he said. (with reports from SunStar Philippines)