ARTA taps private sector network to address red tape, LGU resistance to reforms

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THE ANTI-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) and the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) are putting their partnership into action by tapping the business group’s regional network to address ease of doing business hurdles from local governments.

PCCI Secretary General Ruben J. Pascual said officials of regional chambers will be trained by ARTA starting next week to equip them for setting up systems that will help resolve red tape at the various levels of local government — from barangays to municipalities and cities.

“We will be their (ARTA’s) listening post, early warning system… who will listen from small to big complaints about ease of doing business,” Mr. Pascual said during Friday’s session of the Mindanao Business Conference webinar series.

ARTA and PCCI signed a partnership agreement on Aug. 27 to boost the implementation of Republic Act 11032, or the Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018.

ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica noted that under the law, all local governments must have an electronic business one-stop-shop by 2021.

Mr. Belgica, responding to a question posted by BusinessWorld, said the biggest challenge to having such digital facilities is not primarily infrastructure or connectivity, but the “refusal” to improve processes and the “kingdom” mentality among government workers and officials.

“The silo system of operations, the silo system mindset that government agencies have ingested throughout the years that (you have) several kingdoms within one kingdom… I’ll regulate mine, you regulate yours… This is what ARTA is trying to break,” he said.

He said there are “more than 10,000 agencies both at the national and local levels,” not counting the 42,046 barangays, operating within the government bureaucracy.

For shifting into a digital system, Mr. Belgica said local governments must first streamline processes before thinking about adopting technological solutions.

“You cannot automate without first streamlining the process because you end up including the unnecessary requirements in the automated system,” he said.

Mr. Pascual said PCCI itself is undertaking some organizational adjustments for its regional groups to fully implement its role as “ARTA champions.”

“Most important to the private sector, the businessman is by simplifying the processes… it redounds to the lowering of cost of doing business,” he said. — Marifi S. Jara