Zamboanga rep cites more laws to make businesses competitive

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/13 Dec) – Zamboanga City Rep. Maria Isabelle Climaco said legislators are coming up with laws that increase the country’s competitiveness in doing business, ranging from budgetary allocation for the Philippine Business Registry, to bills supporting one-stop shops and penalizing water and power utility firms whose services get delayed.

“Congress has allotted P250 million in the 2011 budget to automate the Philippine Business Registry to speed up transaction between government and the business sector,” Climaco said during the launching of the report, “Doing Business in the Philippines 2011.”

“We intend to craft a legislative agenda to eradicate barriers to make market entry and business formation a more transparent process,” she said during the launching of the IFC report at the Grand Regal Hotel here Monday.

She also said that Congress “intends to review existing laws to eliminate contradictions and overlaps,” she said.

“The allotted P250 million in the 2011 budget for automation will speed up transactions between government and the business sector by providing a single-window, web-based online transaction processing system,” she said.

Among the laws which have conflicting provisions that delay, instead of speed up business processing, are the Local Government Code provisions covering the local city engineer departments and the Building Code of the Philippines.

“Overlaps and redundancies cause delays in the approval and issuance process,” she said. “These (laws) need tighter calibration, if not total harmonizing.”

She also cited the need to revise Republic Act 9514, also known as the 2008 Fire Code, which requires new businesses to go through fire inspection as a prerequisite for a business permit, even if the business is leasing space in a multi-tenant building which has already obtained a permit.

Climaco also said water and utility companies which “under-perform” should also be penalized. “Another area of delay is the availability of power utilities and water resources and timely hookups as prerequisites to business permits,” she said. “Water and utility companies need to be penalized for underperformance where such delays paralyze business.”

“We as legislators can only set the policy direction and craft enabling laws,” she said, “Local chief executives are at the forefront of local development efforts, with broad powers to make things happen.”

She also said Congress passed RA 9485 or the Anti-Red Tape Act in 2007 to promote better business regulations at the local level, while a pending House Bill 1855, an act establishing one-stop shops, permit processing centers for small and medium enterprises in all regional and provincial centers, has been filed in Congress to encourage more businesses to open. (Germelina Lacorte / MindaNews)