Manila Bulletin

Reduced red tape saves telco, logistics ₱2.4 B


The mandatory streamlini­ng of the processes for the telco towers and logistics sectors in the country would result in substantia­l savings of more than R2.4 billion, according to Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) Director General Jeremiah Belgica.

In a presentati­on before the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) Mindanao, Belgica said the reduced red tape in these two sectors was computed based on the standard cost model calculatio­n of the World Bank. The streamline­d process was a result of the implementa­tion of the National Effort for the Harmonizat­ion of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies (NEHEMIAH) Program. The sectoral-based streamlini­ng effort targets to reduce the time, cost, requiremen­ts, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significan­ce by 52 percent within 52 weeks.

Program NEHEMIA is pursuant to Rule III Section 3 of the Implementi­ng Rules and Regulation­s of Republic Act 11032 which mandates ARTA to adopt a whole-of-government approach in the streamlini­ng of government services.

According to Belgica, PreNEHEMIA­H, both sectors have combined expenditur­es of R3.254 billion as against R830.626 million only after NEHEMIAH.

Belgica said the staggering expenses represent tariff for companies and profession­als, middlemen, and opportunit­y cost in the sector.

Broken down, the logistics sector alone would spend R378.833 million only after the implementa­tion of the reform under the NEHEMIAH Program as against the staggering R2.229-billion cost before the reform. This would translate in total sectoral savings of R1.92 billion.

With ARTA’s issuance of the mandatory compliance order, the logistics sector would have streamline­d their procedural steps by 88 percent and time spend for processing cut by 87 percent.

For the telco towers, Belgica said the sector would spend only R451.792 million or less than half of the R1.025 billion expenses that represent the cost of licensing for 10,000 towers before the streamlini­ng of the sector’s processes.

The reduced cost would translate in R573.963-million sectoral savings. As a result, Belgica said there will be additional 5,000 towers by end this year although the country needs 50,000 telco towers to be competitiv­e.

LGU permitting was also reduced by 38 percent, the documentar­y requiremen­ts by 59 percent and time spent to process was cut by 93 percent.

These two sectors were forced to streamline their processes and fast tracked the issuance of permits and licenses following the compliance orders issued by ARTA to local government units (LGUs) with pending applicatio­ns from telco companies and the adoption of single pass for the logistics players.

“Implementa­tion is gaining momentum,” said Belgica.

Belgica stressed that gone are the days for the quota system, sitting on documents and making people wait while government employees are on noon break.

Government agencies are given 3-7-20 days to approve or disapprove a complete applicatio­n.

Belgica also noted the various cases they have led at the ombudsman against government agency officials and LGU officials for their failure to comply.

Violations under the law include administra­tive liability and suspension, but outright dismissal and charges for of

cials involved with xing and or collusion with xers.

The mission is daunting given the more than 10,000 government agencies both national and local plus 42,000 barangays, but Belgica said “If we streamline, we won’t give opportunit­y for corruption to happen.”

As the processes have been streamline­d, the government is now launching the automation of all government applicatio­ns under the Central Business Portal.

“So yes, it is true that coming from a standstill position but it is really gaining momentum,” he added.

He cited the case of the Food and Drug Administra­tion which was forced to comply with the ARTA order to approve the pending thousands of renewal applicatio­ns, which were supposed to be approved automatica­lly.

“FDA is a challenged agency when it comes to red tape. If FDA could reform then all agencies could do it. Penalties are very steep,” he warned.

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