ALTHOUGH the Philippines has done much to make doing business in the country easier, an officer of P&A Grant Thornton said it still had to do more, and local government units (LGUs) could play a key part in this.

At The Manila Times Philippine Model Cities and Municipalities forum at the New World Manila Bay Hotel on Wednesday, Eleanor Roque, head of the professional services company’s tax advisory and compliance division, said LGUs play an important role in promoting ease of doing business (EoDB) in the country.

“We have a long way to go,” she said. “Everybody is moving. This is [a] race to [reach] No. 1.”

In the World Bank’s 2019 EoDB report, the Philippines ranked No. 124 out of 190 economies, slipping 11 notches from No. 113 in 2018, after scoring only 56.68 out of 100.

According to Roque, it takes a much longer time — usually a month — in the country to process the documents required to start a business, compared to only one day in Singapore. These documents include barangay (village) clearance, community tax certificate and business permit.

She said the determination of initial capital, classification of business and tax rates and coordination with various government agencies also added to the delay.

Citing these concerns, the P&A official said LGUs should “streamline the steps for registering,” in accordance with Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

The EoDB law mandates the prescribed processing periods: three working days for simple business transactions; seven for complex ones; and 20 for highly technical processes.

Should the government unit or agency fail to complete processing within the prescribed period, it shall be penalized and the application would be automatically approved.

First-time offenders will be slapped with a six-month suspension; and second-timers, a fine of between P500,000 and P2million, a six-year prison term and dismissal from service, among others.

Roque also said LGUs should also strive in increasing their tax collection efficiency and set up an online facility for tax payment.


As published in The Manila Times, dated 27 September 2019