Davao City seeks faster processing of business permits

DAVAO CITY (MindaNews/03 January) — After making it to the country’s second fastest in terms of business permit processing, Davao City is looking for more ways to cut down unnecessary steps to make it even easier for businesses to apply for business permits this year.

Lawyer Jhopee A. Agustin, Business Bureau officer-in-charge, said that after reducing the number of steps last year, her office is studying other ways to make it even faster to process business permits this year to improve the city’s ranking in the competitiveness surveys.

As the office opened a one-stop processing shop at SM City for the first day of the scheduled renewal of business permits this year, Agustin said her office spotted some procedures they can do away with but that these are still being discussed with city officials.

”We plan to reduce more the number of steps in business permit processing to make it easier for taxpayers to renew their business permits or for newcomers to register,” she said.

She cited that from its 19th ranking in the Doing Business survey of the Asian Institute of Management (AIM) in 2008, Davao City made it second to General Santos City last year in terms of how fast the city can process business permit applications, sending a welcome signal to prospective investors.

Agustin said the city expects 25,000 of the over 30,000 businesses operating in the city to renew their permits this year.

She said the city government earns as much as P600 million from business permits each year, P400 million of which are usually collected during the business permit renewal period, which is the first 20 days of January.

”As long as they come here with complete set of documents, we can process their applications fast,” Agustin said.

”But we’re also trying to make the entire process even faster by cutting down unnecessary procedures,” she said.

Only a few came to register at the SM City one-stop shop on the first day of the business permit renewal, but Agustin said she expects the number of business registrants to increase in the coming days. She also said most business people come to the Sangguniang Panlungsod building to register each year.

At the one-stop business processing shop at the SM City’s entertainment center, big streamers prominently displayed above each booth guide taxpayers every step of the way.

They have to go through nine steps before they can finally get their business permits.

Agustin said the bulk of the city’s income from local sources comes from business permit applications, which have been increasing each year, indicating Davao City’s upbeat business performance.

The Doing Business report released in December noted, however, Davao City’s heavy reliance on the Internal Revenue Allotment (IRA) instead of on local revenues, as compared to Cebu, which relies less on IRA but more on local revenues. (Germelina Lacorte/Mindanews)