GenSan studies reforms for trade and investment policies

GENERAL SANTOS CITY (MindaNews/11 July) —  The city government is studying possible reforms to its trade and investment policies in a bid to sustain the area’s economic growth.

Mayor Ronnel Rivera said his office is specifically reviewing ordinances and other local regulations involving business, investments and taxation to make them more responsive to the city’s economic and development directions.

He said the city’s taxes and fees might need some changes as it has not been reviewed for quite some time.

“We’re looking at further strengthening our business sector to enable it to complement with our growth projections and specifically, the generation of more income for the city as well as jobs livelihood for our constituents,” the mayor said.      ‘

The trade and investment initiatives in the area are governed by the City Investment Code of 2004, which underwent minor revisions in 2010.

The city government, through the City Economic Management and Cooperative Development Office (CEMCDO) had commissioned a technical working group (TWG) composed of representatives of various sectors to draw up changes that would make the investment code more responsive to the present business environment.

Among the initial revisions recommended by the TWG was the incorporation of an investment priority plan that will contain the city’s approved investment priority areas, guidelines and implementing rules and regulations.

It pushed for the rationalization of business or investment application procedures and improve the responsiveness of the code to rapidly changing investment areas.

The TWG recommended the removal of the minimum capitalization requirement to allow micro, small, and medium enterprises avail of and benefit from investment incentives offered by the local government.

It set the inclusion of locational restrictions to certain investment areas to encourage the dispersal of industries to more rural barangays, decongest highly urbanized areas and expand the city’s development areas.

Rivera said they will also look at the profitability of the city’s four economic enterprises that comprise the city hospital, central public market, slaughterhouse and terminal.

The city government earlier allocated a total of P167.75 million for the operations this year of the four economic enterprises.

The city hospital received the bulk of the proposed budget with P130.167 million, followed by the public market with P25.718 million, terminal with P10.5 million and slaughterhouse with P1.374 million.

The mayor said his office has been also working on the city’s budget for next year in coordination with various local government offices.

He said he has reached out with members of the city council for the adoption of an executive-legislative agenda that sets initiatives on health, education, livelihood and economic-related as top priorities for the next six months.  (Allen V. Estabillo/MindaNews)