Small and medium-sized businesses nationwide would soon be able to process their business registration and license applications in just one day and from the safety of their digital device.
Some 446 local government units (LGUs) are expected to operationalize their electronic business permit and licensing units as early as the third quarter of the year. This will allow them integrate their operations with the national government’s central business portal, www.business.gov.ph, the soft launch of which was just in January 2021.
“What this central business portal does is you could already apply with all of this or 5 or 6 or 7 agencies all at once at one time,” said Director General Jeremiah Belgica of the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA).
Speaking last Friday, May 7, 2021 at a press briefing, Belgica said this portal makes it easier for the individuals to file applications with relevant government agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission, Bureau of Internal Revenue, Social Securities System, PhilHealth, Pag-IBIG, and even LGUs.
“(The) vision and the idea is to cut the process to one step and less than one-day processing for these 5 agencies,” Belgica said.
Right now, it still takes businesses six days or so to complete the process because “sometimes they need to still submit physical documents with the local government units.”
Nevertheless, this is still a big improvement from the previous 33 to 60 days that it used to take to process business permit applications and other registration requirements. “As we go along the route, things are going to get better especially for the MSMEs (micro, small, and medium enterprises),” Belgica assured.
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Another project that ARTA is pushing is to do away with the submission of documents for those renewing their business permits and licenses.
“Just pay digitally the renewal fees and that would be enough,” he said. “Since you’ve been functioning in the previous months or maybe years, then there’s really no harm to just renew your license — especially during the pandemic — without the need of any submission of additional documents.”
MSMEs comprise 99.5 percent of business establishments in the Philippines, according to the United Nations Office in the Philippines. They employ about 63 percent of the country’s 43.9 million-strong labor force according to 2020 data.
Closures due to quarantine restrictions over the past year has resulted in income losses for most everyone. “MSMEs play a crucial role in the Philippines’ efforts to recover from the crisis brought about by this pandemic,” acknowledged Enrico Gaveglia, Officer-in-Charge of UNDP Philippines, in a statement issued in October 2020.
He added, “Digital infrastructure in the country is key to enable the development of a new market space online.”
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