THE GOVERNMENT must transform business processes before automating services, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said.

“Business process transformation first before automation, because the moment you automate efficient processes, you can maximize the benefits, as opposed to automating an inefficient process,” ARTA Deputy Director General for Operations Gerald G. Divinagracia said at a Stratbase ADR briefing on Thursday.

“There was a need for government agencies to transform their services, to deliver excellent services. We see government services online, however, (which are) not yet connected end-to-end. Services are not fully automated… That’s why we embarked on transparency and connectivity in terms of end-to end processes,” he added.

Mr. Divinagracia cited challenges to doing business such as poor turnaround time, government fees and requirements and lack of predictability.

“The way for us to solve this is through two major (approaches): a conducive regulatory framework and delivery of government support and services. Streamlining and enabling agencies in streamlining their processes,” he said.

Makati Business Club Executive Director Francisco Alcuaz, Jr. said that the government should promote transparency in its policies, particularly in the areas of freedom of information; statements of assets, liabilities, and net worth (SALN); money laundering; and bank secrecy.

“If you strengthen the SALN rules and loosen the bank secrecy law, you will help prosecutors and even ARTA to prosecute officials and businesses who corrupt the system. This will level the playing field and attract businesses that play by the rules,” Mr. Alcuaz said.

“Businesses want to be playing in the Philippines. Rather than corruption, the money will be flowing to more infrastructure that lasts longer. Not infra where they cut corners or scrimp on the materials that deteriorate in a few years,” he added.

Mr. Alcuaz said transparent government will help attract investors.

“If you have a transparent government rather than corruption, the money that the businessmen will be spending will be going to developing the best products and services for Filipinos and/or foreign buyers and for the world, and into investments and expansions that create more jobs,” he added. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson