Making It Easier To Do Business

It’s in the news that the Philippines made slight gains in making it easier to do business but the country slipped from 134th to 136th in the Doing Business rankings relative to the other 182 countries. According to the World Bank’s Doing Business 2012 Report, the country dropped in rank despite instituting a reform on resolving insolvency which is intended to make regulatory environment more business-friendly. The report said our current administration, local government units and the private sector still need to execute reforms so that small and medium enterprises can flourish.

Overall, our country got lower ranking than last year despite the slight gains we had in the areas of “getting electricity,” “trading across borders” and “enforcing contracts”. According to the report, our government was unable to make significant strides in the following areas which are crucial to the life cycles of small and medium enterprises:

  • Ease of starting a business
  • Registering property
  • Getting credit
  • Protecting investors
  • Dealing with construction permits
  • Paying taxes, and
  • Resolving insolvency.

As a former owner of a single-owned i-café business, I can cite my experience on the difficulties (not ‘ease’) of starting a business in our country. Assuming that you are already decided to start your own business and you want to register it and/or secure all the permits for you to operate legally, below are the procedures that you need to undergo:

  1. Secure annual Community Tax Certificate (CTC or cedula) from your local government unit (LGU).
  2. Register your desired business name with Department of Trade and Industry (DTI).
  3. Register the business with your LGU to secure Mayor’s or Business Permit. This process will require you to get clearance from the Fire, Engineering  and Health Departments.
  4. Register with Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and secure Authority To Print (ATP) sales invoices and official receipts.
  5. Register with Social Security System (SSS), Pag-Ibig and PhilHealth for the your insurance coverages and/or that of your employees.

Take note that except for the permit and clearances that you can secure from your LGU’s offices, all other registrations will require you to travel to different locations which may not be near your place of business. If the above procedures are not enough to justify the low ranking that our country got, I do not know what caused it.

Thinking aloud, I would have wanted to have e-governance in place where a would-be businessman can do all of the above registrations at an LGU office. In these days of advanced information and communications technology, such is not impossible. It’s being done in other countries long time ago. Are you wondering why our government cannot do it and make doing business easier for its citizens?

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