Category : Press Release
Date : November 05, 2017
Agency : Department of Finance
Title : DOF focusing on 3 initiatives to improve ease of doing business
Article : The Department of Finance is harnessing the power of digital technology to implement three major initiatives in improving the ease of doing business in the country. 
 
According to Dr. Dennis Reyes the DOF’s technology modernization architect, these three programs are the TradeNet platform for traders, the establishment of the Philippine Business Data Bank (PBDB) down to the local government level, and a parallel modernization initiative in the DOF, the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC). 
 
“Under the Anti-Red Tape Program or ARTA, we have these multiple initiatives that are now ongoing,” Reyes said at a public forum organized by the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) to discuss the Philippines’ efforts to further improve its current ranking in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business (EODB) index. 
 
Reyes said the TradeNet platform, which will also serve as the Philippines link to the ASEAN Single Window gateway, will be up and running by the end of the year and will later place onboard a total of 66 government agencies “progressively over the course of the next two to three years.” 
 
The PBDB will involve the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which chairs the NCC, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the country’s economic zones and over 1,600 local government units (LGUs), Reyes said. 
 
This Data Bank will allow the online processing of business permits by LGUs as part of the Duterte administration’s continuing initiatives to improve the ease of doing business in the country. 
 
“We're also working internally in DOF to harmonize and modernize the Department, and working closely right now with BOC and BIR in facilitating the modernization initiatives,” he added.
 
DOF Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran, had earlier explained that  TradeNet.gov.ph, which will also perform the functions of the country’s National Single Window (NSW), will allow traders  to use the system to apply for import and export permits for rice,  sugar,  used motor vehicles,  chemicals (toluene),  frozen meat  medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and  cured tobacco. 
 
The NSW, which will eventually be interconnected to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Single Window, is a regional initiative that aims to speed up cargo clearances and promote economic integration by enabling the electronic exchange of border documents among the organization’s 10 member-states. 
 
Beltran has said that as the vehicle for the NSW, TradeNet is expected “to shorten the processing time of import/export clearances, reduce the number of transactions and required documents to be submitted, and remove bureaucratic red-tape that has plagued businesses and citizens when dealing with the government.”
 
Beltran, who is also the DOF’s anti-red tape czar, said earlier that the precursor to the PBDB, the Online Unified Business Permit Application Form, is now being finetuned to further simplify the process and allow businesses to apply for LGU business permits regardless of location. 
 
TradeNet.gov.ph is being developed by the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), while the onboarding of agencies to the system is being initiated by DOF through its Inter-Agency Business Process Interoperability (IABPI) Project. 
 
At the forum, the DTI, NCC, DOF and other government agencies presented a set of initiatives that the three branches of government—Executive, Congress and Judiciary—expects to approve or implement to improve the country’s EODB ranking. 
 
“Improving ease of doing business in the Philippines is an endeavor that involves the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. It is a whole-of-government effort. As the Philippines belongs in a region of economies that are clocking in big gains in this area, the Duterte administration commits to strengthen its efforts to introduce reforms and streamline processes to spur this country forward and to improve its global ranking in Ease of Doing Business,” the NCC said in its statement released at the forum. 
 
The EODB measures 10 basic government procedures which many companies undergo. Each year, the World Bank surveys businesses in a single city per economy across the world. In the last several years, Quezon City, being the largest city in the Philippines in terms of the number of registered businesses, has been selected as the city to be surveyed. The survey was conducted in January to May 2017. The findings are a result of a survey of roughly 150 consultants, lawyers, and businessmen, the NCC said.