Around 20 government agencies are expected to go online under the Asean Single Window (ASW) platform by the first semester of 2018, a move seen to improve further the ease of doing business in the country, the Department of Finance (DOF) said.
According to a report by the anti-red tape team to Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III during a recent DOF Executive Committee (Execom) meeting, the agencies will go online between the first and second quarters next year.
The DOF’s anti-red tape team is led by Undersecretary and Chief Economist Gil Beltran.
The ASW gateway, 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, has been installed and is being tested this month.
Earlier, the DOF said it was harnessing the power of digital technology to implement three major initiatives in improving the ease of doing business in the country.
These 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 and the Bureaus of Internal Revenue and of Customs.
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) will hold a live demonstration on Philippine Business Data Bank to local government units on Nov. 28. The DILG is in-charge of logistics, while DICT is in-charge of the program flow.
DOF’s technology modernization architect Dr. Dennis Reyes said there are multiple initiatives currently ongoing under the Anti-Red Tape Program or ARTA.
Reyes was present during 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 index.
Reyes said the TradeNet platform, which will also serve as the Philippines link to the ASW 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, which chairs the NCC, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the country’s economic zones and over 1,600 local government units, 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.
Beltran said that TradeNet.gov.ph will allow traders to use the system to apply for import and export permits initially for rice, sugar, used motor vehicles, chemicals (toluene), frozen meat medicines (for humans, animals or fish) and cured tobacco.
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 said the precursor to the PBDB, the Online Unified Business Permit Application Form, is now being fine tuned to further simplify the process and allow businesses to apply for LGU business permits regardless of location.