Freeman Cebu Business

CCCI transparency survey: DTI ranked as most transparent agency

Ainjeliz de la Torre-Orong - The Freeman

CEBU, Philippines — The Cebu Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCCI) has conducted a survey on the transparency of various government agencies that play a huge role in the success of businesses in Cebu and the economy of the province in general.

CCCI president Virgilio Espeleta though clarified that the survey was not made to pinpoint faults. Rather, it aims to be the “sparkplug to start a better collaboration between the public and private sector, he stressed.

 In a press conference last October 29, 2019, CCCI officers led by Espeleta showed the result of the survey, which mentions several government agencies getting high transparency ratings.

Out of 16 agencies, the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) topped the survey followed by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Department of Information and Communication Technology (DICT), Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Board of Investments (BOI).

On the 6th to 11th place, respectively are: Department of Agriculture (DA), Maritime Industry, Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE), Local Government Units, Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and Food and Drugs Administration (FDA).

Meanwhile, the survey showed that Philippine National Police (PNP), Department of Transportation (DOTr), Bureau of Fire Protection BFP), Bureau of Internal Revenue (BIR) and Bureau of Customs (BoC) were among those with low transparency ratings.

The transparency of government agencies were included in the survey since business owners consider “government regulations and element of corruption” as their top obstacle in doing business. Other obstacles are high cost of utilities and materials, lack of quality physical and technological infrastructure, lack of available talent, and tight competition.

“Bureaucracy and lack of transparency were cited as subsets of a different regulation, together with the unreasonably high number of steps or procedures for business permits and compliance. Tax regulations and lack of government support for SMEs were also mentioned by our respondents,” the CCCI study stated.

Informal payments was also mentioned in the study wherein 46 percent of the respondents said they did not make informal payments in the last 12 months, while 36 percent agree that businesses in Cebu are often asked to give gifts, tokens and informal payments to government agencies and officials.

There were 204 respondents in the said survey, with a mix of micro, small, medium and large business operators.

However, even with the mentioned obstacles in doing business, 53 percent are confident that their own businesses will grow and be competitive in the next three years and 49 percent are confident that Cebu will grow and be competitive in the next three years.

Based on roundtable discussions they had with business owners and key stakeholders in Cebu, CCCI has identified several public and private collaborations, including: the establishment of an Investment Concierge Center; the Anti Red Tape Agency (ARTA) collaboration desk; streamlining and digitizing the business permit and licensing system; expanded incentives and assistance program for SMEs and start-ups; and the creation of a Cebu Business advisory council. 

Espeleta said they have already sent letters plus copies of the survey to the government agencies mentioned in the survey, as well as to Presidential Assistant to the Visayas Secretary Michael Dino and Regional Development Council-7 chair Kenneth Cobonpue.

“It is our hope that after we share the result of the survey, that we can rally everyone to boost the business climate in Cebu,” said Espeleta.

“The business community should work collaboratively with the government, national and local, to ensure continued and shared prosperity for all,” he added.

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