By Leslie D. Venzon
10 March 2017 | MANILA

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members would work on standardizing business registration in the region. Image source: https://www.facebook.com/NEDAhq/

Reducing regulatory burdens to provide a conducive environment to micro and small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) growth will take center stage when the Philippines hosts the third Southeast Asia Regional Policy Network on Good Regulatory Practices (GRPN) on March 14 to 16 in Iloilo City.

Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Ernesto Pernia said the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) members would work on standardizing business registration in the region.

“(In terms of the) number of signatures needed and the number of days required to get registration of a business,” he told reporters. “We’re going to emphasize similarities and work on the differences so there can be smoothing so some congruence can be achieved.”

Pernia, also Director-General of National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA), said the GRPN meeting will address issues and regulatory challenges in order to facilitate the integration of ASEAN SMEs into the global value chains (GVCs).

“Part of the enabling environment is a simplified set of rules and regulations on business registration and licensing, entry and exit, paying taxes and access to finance,” he said, noting they aim to emulate Singapore’s business procedure.

The NEDA will host the meetings on good regulatory practices which will bring together around 20 regulatory policy officials from ASEAN members and development partners from Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) member countries. It will be co-chaired by New Zealand and Malaysia.

The meeting will provide a platform for ASEAN and OECD countries to share their experiences in improving business environment, specifically business start-up processes, simplifying administrative procedures, and reducing red tape.

The NEDA chief said they would also share best practices to support the ASEAN Community and the 2025 Vision through enhancing regulatory systems and frameworks.

Pernia said this aligned well with the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) 2017-2022, where regulatory reform was identified as a major strategy to improve governance, reduce inequality and increase potential growth.

One of the key presentations will be the Philippine National Competitiveness Council’s Project Repeal.

This initiative aims to review, repeal, or amend existing regulations that impose unnecessary burden on business firms.

There will also be a workshop that explores how government support from the United Kingdom can promote ASEAN initiatives to enhance the regulatory environment.

“We welcome this opportunity to learn from our colleagues in the ASEAN and our partners in the OECD. We are eager to collaborate with fellow member states towards a better regulatory environment in the ASEAN,” the NEDA chief added. (PNA)

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