The Department of Trade & Industry (DTI) DTI Secretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr recently signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with Department of Agriculture Secretary Proceso J. Alcala for the two agencies to jointly facilitate business permits, licenses, and endorsements involving investors applying for registration with the Board of Investments (BOI).
DTI Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino S. Rodolfo said that the MOA is expected to improve ease of doing business in the country. “To benefit fully from the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and global market access, it is important that we offer a conducive environment to investors, a place where they could quickly set up their business. An important first step is to make it easy for them to comply with government requirements,” he said.
According to Rodolfo, simplifying business processes, coupled with the implementation of the Comprehensive National Industrial Strategy (CNIS), is keyto the development of the agriculture sectorwhich needs to modernize for it to be globally competitive. The CNIS links the manufacturing sector with agriculture and services sectors to mutually reinforce a virtuous cycle of growth.
Figures from the Philippine Statistics Authority show that investments in the agriculture sector slowed down to 4.4 percent in the first four months of 2016, weighed down primarily by the persistent El Niño phenomenon and the need to upgrade from traditional farming to a globally competitive agribusiness sector. Meanwhile, the manufacturing sector retained its momentum, growing by 8.1% during the same period due to improved business and consumer sentiments.
Under the MOA, a BOI representative is now authorized to assist a client to submit and follow up the application for endorsements, certifications, and/or permits with the DA up to the extent permissible by law. The MOA also provides for BOI to assist the DA in disseminating information regarding all relevant rules, guidelines, and standards on matters covering public investments, agricultural development and support services for domestic and export-oriented business enterprises and other related matters.
The MOA also provides for the DA to regularly provide BOI with copies of all relevant rules, guidelines, and standards on matters covering public investments, agriculture development and support services for domestic and export-oriented business enterprises. DA is also expected to provide BOI with a checklist of all requirements on application for accreditation, endorsements, certifications, and permits issued by the concerned bureaus and offices under the agency. DA will also regularly coordinate and cooperate with BOI drafting relevant policies relating to IPP, and other relevant rules, guidelines, and standards affecting investors and investment promotion activities.
Since 2014, the BOI, through the Investment Assistance Service (IAS) has signed five (5) other MOAs with Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Tourism (DOT), Bureau of Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Department of Health (DOH)-Health Facilities Regulatory and Services Bureau (HFRSB) to help businesses set up businesses in the Philippines.
“Clearly, the sustained economic growth of the country benefitted from policy reforms and increased collaboration to improve the ease of doing business in the country. The country’s current investment climate should benefit not only firms – whether foreign and domestic, large or small – but society at large,” Rodolfo concluded.