Business Permits and Licensing System Gaining Ground

Government efforts to improve the Business Permits Licensing System (BPLS) in the country appear to be gaining ground as more and more establishments renewing their business permits or applying for new ones are reported to have expressed satisfaction over how their respective local governments do their business registration processes.

This was revealed in a preliminary report presented by National Competitiveness Council Private Sector Co-Chairman Guillermo Luz and DTI Undersecretary Zenaida Maglaya in a press briefing at the Board of Investments before government and other development partners engaged in projects that address improving the ease of doing business in the country. The report covered a Customer Satisfaction Survey conducted from January 11 to February 10, 2012 of 763 businessmen and entrepreneurs regarding the issuance of local business permits. Mr. Luz expressed optimism over these positive developments saying that “this is highly attributable to the continuous concerted government and private sector initiatives to improve ease of doing business in the country.” 

Mr. Luz acknowledged the major contribution of the Department of Interior and Local Government and the Department of Trade and Industry who are the lead agencies in the streamlining efforts. The report covered 185 local government units across the country, including 72 which had completed a training program of DTI and DILG to streamline their business permit processes.  He added that these LGUs will be the subject of an in-depth field monitoring and evaluation to further validate the results of the survey.

The report indicated that 70 percent of businessmen covered in the survey were able to receive their business permits within three days or less, with 17 percent reporting they secured their business permits within two hours. In the past, it typically took five to six days to secure business permit renewals and as many as 10 days for new permits. The survey also reported that 57 percent of businesses went through five steps or less to secure their business permits, the government’s current standard for the process. However, 43 percent reported they still went through six steps or more to receive their permits, indicating that process improvements still needed to take place in many LGUs.

Prior to the launch of the Business Permits and Licensing System program, some cities and municipalities had required as many as eight to ten signatures prior to approval and release of annual business permits. According to the survey, improvements have taken place. Today, 37 percent of businesses report needing only two signatures or less while 13  percent required three signatures. Half of the respondents still needed four or  more signatures to secure their permits.

Among the major improvements in the Business Permits and Licensing System has been in the reduction of forms which applicants have to fill out. Fifty percent of businesses now report having to fill out only one form to use for the entire process. However, 31 percent report still having to use three or more forms in the application process.

The Client Satisfaction Survey covered almost 800 micro, small  medium-sized and large enterprises, representing mostly single proprietorship firms scattered across 185 cities and municipalities. It is the of a series of client satisfaction surveys that will focus on specific public services or agency-specific concerns which the National Competitiveness Council will conduct as part of the Administration’s thrust to focus on good governance, transparency and accountability towards improving delivery of public services. These surveys will form part of NCC’s Monitoring and Evaluation Projects that will track the quality of government services as well as actual customer experience.

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