GENERAL SANTOS CITY -- The city government has unveiled an enhanced Business Permits and Licensing System (BPLS) that will allow the issuance of business permits in two hours or even less.
Dubbed as FAST, which stands for Friendly, Accessible, Simple and Timely, the new system was formally rolled out on Wednesday with the start of the annual registration and renewal of business permits here that will run until Jan. 20.
Geraldine Zamora, chief of the Business Permits and Licensing Division, said they had further streamlined the processes in the renewal and application of local business permits to fast track their issuance.
From the previous 15 steps, which usually take two to three days to complete, she said they had cut down the process to just three in compliance with the guidelines set by the national government.
She was referring to Joint Memorandum Circular 01, series of 2016 issued by the Department of Trade and Industry, Department of the Interior and Local Government and Department Information and Communications Technology.
Under the new system, Zamora said the process only involves the filing and assessment, payment and the then the claiming of business permits.
“Our original target was to have the business permits released in 40 minutes to one hour but since this is a new system, we (are) giving it at least two hours,” she said in a media forum.
The official said among the major changes was the setting of the basic requirements for application and renewal to just the barangay clearance and the unified form.
She said they also simplified the assessment of gross sales by allowing the immediate approval of declarations of 15 percent and above.
Under the previous system, the review and assessment of gross sales of business took two to three days, she said.
Aside from these, she said they also implemented the automated or computerized transfer and sharing of documents in all city government offices involved in the issuance of business permits.
Zamora clarified that the basic clearances required in the previous system still remained but are no longer required during the renewal and registration period.
She said business owners are required to complete within 90 days the necessary clearances such as those issued by the Bureau of Fire Protection, Office of the Building Official, Pagibig Fund, Social Security System and the Philippine Health Insurance Corp. or PhilHealth.
Except for PhilHealth, she said all local government and national government agencies issuing the clearances would be available in the one-stop-shop situated at the city’s Investment Center during the processing period.
The city government crafted the new BPLS with technical assistance from the United States Agency for International Development’s (USAID) Strengthening Urban Resilience for Growth with Equity (SURGE) Project for the initiative.
The city is among the current recipients of the $47.8 million SURGE Project, which aims to further enhance economic development in various key cities in the country.
The five-year project, which is a component of USAID’s Cities Development Initiative, “assists cities and adjacent areas to plan effectively, guarantee basic public services, reduce business transaction costs, promote competitiveness, support sustainable development, and reduce disaster and climate change risks while ensuring inclusive and sustainable growth.” (PNA)