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Philippines Business Data Bank launched by DOF

Philippines Business Data Bank launched by DOF, DICT and DILG to streamline application and renewal of business permits

Earlier this month,
the Philippines Department of Finance (DOF),
along with the Departments of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) and of Interior and Local Government (DILG) launched a digital platform
that aims to streamline the application and renewal of business permits through
online sharing of information by government agencies involved in the
process. The system was developed by a team from the Advanced Science and
Technology Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST). The
system will be managed by the DICT. 

The Philippine
Business Data Bank (PBDB) will also involve the Department of Trade and
Industry (DTI), which chairs the National
Competitiveness Council (NCC), the
Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC),
the country’s economic zones and over 1,600 local government units
(LGUs). 

Information shared
in the PBDB system covers data that businesses have already made public, as
contained in their respective business permits, which are required to be
displayed in a conspicuous area in their place of business.

The information in the PBDB database will initially be provided
by the DTI, SEC, the Cooperatives Development Authority (CDA) and the LGUs, starting with Quezon
City. In the future, the PBDB will include business data of economic
locators in the Philippine Economic Zone Authority (PEZA) and the other
ecozones across the country. 

Through the PBDB,
government agencies would be able to verify the existence of a business entity
using a single reference document. The PBDB would also allow the public to
verify the existence of a specific business entity. The system will provide the
information by accessing data from various sources. 

According to the DICT, the verification of a specific business
entity is limited to exact name searches, to prevents users from resorting to
random searches for phishing.

Finance Undersecretary, Gil Beltran, said that the launching of
the PBDB system is among the initiatives of the DOF, as lead agency of the
government’s anti-red tape program (ARTA) to improve the ease of doing business
in the country. 

In August this year,
the Philippines Senate approved the Expanded Anti-Red Tape
Act of 2017
 which seeks to reduce and simplify the requirements for
starting and operating businesses in the country. Under the Act,
Cities/municipalities are required to automate their business permitting and
licensing system (BPLS) or set up an electronic-Business One Stop Shop (BOSS)
within one year for more efficient business registration, as far as
practicable.

“With the PBDB, government agencies can readily access data on a
particular business, eliminating the need for business owners to bring numerous
documentary requirements when transacting with the government,” Mr. Beltran
said. 

“The PBDB’s
web-based application can be accessed via the National
Government Portal
,” the DICT said. (The National Government Portal is intended to provide a single point of access for all government information, transactions and services.)

Besides the PBDB, the DOF said it was harnessing the power of
digital technology to implement two other major initiatives in improving the
ease of doing business in the country.  

These are the
TradeNet platform for traders and a parallel modernisation initiative in the
DOF and the Bureaus of Internal Revenue (BIR) and of Customs (BOC). 

DOF’s technology modernisation architect, Dr. Dennis Reyes, said
the TradeNet platform, which will also serve
as the Philippines’ link to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
Single Window
gateway, will be up and running by the end of 2017 and will
later place onboard a total of 66 government agencies “progressively over the
course of the next two to three years.”  

Beltran has 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. It 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.

Featured image: Jonnhydejesus (source: https://servedchilled1984.wordpress.com/2010/06/23/makati-city-lights/ CC BY-SA 4.0