ONLY 600 local government units (LGUs) have adopted the government online business permit application system so far, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) said.

ARTA and other government agencies earlier this year asked the country’s 1,600 LGUs in a circular to make use of the electronic business one-stop shop or put up automated business licensing systems by mid-June.

Sa count namin, 600 na ‘yung gumagamit ng electronic business permitting and licensing system, although hindi lahat sila ay nakakabit na sa central business portal (By our count, 600 LGUs are offering electronic licensing, but not all of them are linked to the central business portal),” ARTA Director General Jeremiah B. Belgica said in a virtual event Monday.

The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) provides electronic business one-stop shop software to LGUs for free. Other LGUs have set up their own automated systems.

Local governments that have fully put up an online business registration service must cut the number of steps to one. Those transitioning to a fully automated system must have a maximum of four steps under a hybrid manual and digital process.

Business registration must be processed within three working days, while the number of signatories on permits must be reduced to three.

ARTA in June said it was checking on LGU compliance in moving their business permit application processes online. The agency planned to prioritize highly urbanized cities due to their bigger populations.

Local governments were given three years from the implementation of the Ease of Doing Business law, signed in 2018, to set up an online business registration system. 

Mr. Belgica said that he hopes to link more LGUs to the national central business portal, which streamlines the process of establishing a business by consolidating the requirements of various government agencies.

So far, 17 LGUs are connected to the system, while at least three more are now being integrated, DICT Project Management Lead Cristina Cristobal said.

In addition, the online systems of 257 LGUs are hyperlinked in the central business portal, which means that users can be automatically redirected to their websites. — Jenina P. Ibañez