Representatives from international development agencies, the national government and the mayors of sixteen TAG cities in Mindanao are expected to attend the launch.
Internationally, the challenge of “doing business” and overcoming the red tape surrounding business permitting systems is of growing concern. Here in the Philippines, vast improvements have been made as a result of the changes initiated by Mindanao cities in their Business Permits and Licensing Systems (BPLS).
For example, in Zamboanga City, the amount collected during the January 2006 renewal period increased by 300%, compared to the same period in 2005. And in Malaybalay City, the number of establishments that acquired business permits from the first time increased from 200 to 300. Moreover, the time it took for an applicant to get a permit decreased from three days to half a day in Ozamiz City.
Cities are empowered by the 1991 Local Government Code to issue business permits and collect fees and taxes. With assistance from The Asia Foundation, technical working groups were tasked to look for ways to improve their systems.
Among the innovations were: simplification of requirements for renewal; translation of forms into local languages; re-arrangement of the workflow among tables in the one-stop-shop venue; changes in the sequence of steps; and convincing national government agencies to be available in the one-stop-shop venue.
With the support of city mayors, technical working groups collaborated with private sector groups such as the city chambers of commerce and industry, national government agencies, and civil society partners to bring about the desired results.
As these changes were implemented, cities were able to earn more from taxes, and doing business was made easier and faster thus resulting in a better business climate. Regular inspections are conducted to ensure continuous service improvement which is a key ingredient towards transparent and accountable governance.