THE Makati Business Club (MBC) is urging the Anti-Red Tape Authority (Arta) to set up a group from the private sector that can provide inputs to its ease of doing business initiatives to become an “enabling” agency instead of a “regulatory” one.
“Arta can set up a group from the private sector that can actually provide inputs to Arta. Maybe like an advisory to Arta,” MBC Chairman Edgar O. Chua told reporters on the sidelines of the Pilipinas Conference 2023.
Chua likened this proposed advisory group to the Private Sector Advisory Council (PSAC), a Council that was established by the Office of the President to foster “innovative” partnerships and to establish “stronger” relationships between the private and public sectors.
“They set up a PSAC to provide advice to the government—on the sectors of focus. But that’s geared more for investments and some policies also,” MBC Chairman Edgar Chua told reporters, partly in Filipino, on the sidelines of the Pilipinas Conference 2023 last week.
The MBC chairman pointed out that the ease of doing business initiatives of Arta may not be enough, as it needs to have an “enabling” mindset rather than a “regulatory” one.
“It will never be enough, it’s always continuing because the world is changing so we need to simplify. I think the thinking of many of our government agencies is regulatory,” Chua said.
“ ‘Government ako I need to regulate’ [I’m government so I need to regulate]. But the thinking should be changed…from
regulation, which by the way is important as well, but [it must] be an enabling agency,” the MBC chairman also noted.
At the forefront of the government’s priorities, Chua said, should be to simplify requirements, “both at the national and local levels.” Most of the problems are at the local level, he noted. “For instance, if you’re setting up a business and seek a permit at the national level in order to, say, participate in a PPP, so Neda will approve.” But at the local level, one needs a plethora of permits: “a barangay permit, mayor’s permit, you have to chase after so many permits.”
He said the existing ease of doing business initiatives are not yet enough because the requirements have not yet been “standardized.”
He observed that, “When you go to a Barangay in a province, there is a different set of requirements. Go to a Barangay in another province, it’s another set of requirements. It should be standardized and simplified.”
Looking at the global landscape, Chua cited New Zealand as an example, where, he said they implement a “sunset provision” whenever they enact a law.
“In our case, we keep adding laws, we never reduce. But sometimes, the law is no longer applicable because there is a new one. That’s why conflict arises sometimes,” Chua stressed.