Permit process improves but targets not fully met

Efforts to improve the business permit application process have led to some success although the results could stand some improvement, the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) yesterday reported.

Results of a survey on the Business Process and Licensing System (BPLS) implemented in 185 local governments, the NCC said, found three-fifths of respondents expressing satisfaction.

"Sixty percent of the total respondents reported that they were satisfied with their BPLS in their respective LGUs (local government units)," the NCC said.

A quarter answered that they were "somewhat satisfied," 5% were "somewhat dissatisfied" and 3% said they were dissatisfied.

The initiative, first launched in 2010, aims to cut permit approvals down to at least 10 days, five steps, two signatures, and one form.

Forty-three percent of the respondents reported that it took at least six steps to complete the application. Thirty-eight percent said it took four to five, 12% claimed three, 4% went through two, and only 3% experienced a single-step process.

In terms of signatures, half of all respondents said they were required to collect four. Thirty-seven percent said they only needed one or two while the remaining 13% said it was three.

Half of all respondents reported using a single form, 31% were required to use at least three, while 19% were made to fill out two.

Finally, 27% said they received their business permits two to three days later, 26% received theirs within a day, 17% four to five days later, and 13% beyond five days. Sixteen percent reported getting their permits within 10 minutes to two hours.

"We’re happy with the results. Three days is an improvement, but it’s still too long considering they are still filing other permits for health and sanitation and fire protection," NCC private sector co-chairman Guillermo M. Luz said.

"An 8% [overall] dissatisfaction rate is also low ... it’s important that we focus on the dissatisfied customers because they are more likely to relate their experience to others. The happy customer will tell his happy experience to nobody," he added.

After seeing some local governments top targets, the NCC said it was mulling a best practice system that would allow municipalities to adopt the systems of top-performing peers.

"The next step for this survey is to benchmark the LGUs and see how they stack up against each other. Each of them will have a mini report card on their performance to see which areas still need improvement," Mr. Luz said.

The BPLS will eventually be rolled out to 1,634 LGUs by 2016.

"We want to prioritize areas that can attract investments in tourism and agribusiness. But the president [Benigno S. C. Aquino III] said that the BPLS should be implemented everywhere," Trade Undersecretary Zenaida C. Maglaya said.

Around 500 LGUs have already adopted the system.

The NCC survey, conducted online throughout January, had 763 respondents who were owners and managers of micro, small, and medium enterprises. The local governments cited were mostly in Metro Manila, Bicol, Central Visayas, Northern Mindanao and the Cordillera Autonomous Region.

original source: