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Philippine Department of Trade & Industry eases application process with online platform

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Ease of Doing Business and Government Service Act aims to streamline frontline procedures and to reduce the processing time on securing government permits and licences. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) is doing its share by launching its online processing of applications for Certificate of Authority to Import (CAI) through the DTI’s Integrated Registration and Information Systems, otherwise known as IREGIS.

The agency said that the online portal facilitates the processing of frontline services including the application for import permits. The automation of these processes is intended to modernise not only the office but also the micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) as well. They are hopeful that this move will contribute to a more seamless and simplified system in the future.

The agency’s clients can now secure their import permits at the comfort of their homes since everything can now be done through IREGIS — from the filing of an application, online payment, evaluation, and approval down to releasing of certificates.

DTI also incorporated a technical support chat box in the IREGIS applicant dashboard that is available from 8 AM to 5 PM on weekdays to assist the clients in navigating the recently launched online portal.

Recently, the agency partnered with a local bank that will bring digital livelihood and virtual banking services to more than 1.3 million “sari-sari” (small stores selling assorted goods) stores nationwide through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Under the MOU, DTI will promote the local bank’s virtual app and provide training programmes for entrepreneurs. The pieces of training rolled out in more than 1,000 DTI Negosyo Centres around the country.

Furthermore, DTI recently inked a deal with a multinational tech company in upgrading the country’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) through the power of digitalisation, creating a strong online presence and training them on digital skills to grow their businesses globally. Through this partnership, the goal is to conduct training sessions among MSMEs nationwide so they can be well-informed of the digital landscape, latest consumer insights and tools to help MSMEs connect with more consumers in the digital space.

In many webinars and programmes, the DTI has likewise repeatedly confirmed the need to upgrade skills and technology to counter the negative impacts of the pandemic and sustain businesses and jobs. Thus, pushing them to champion the adoption of digital strategies and utilisation of e-commerce to assist the recovery of small business affected by COVID-19. As per the agency, MSMEs need stronger market and financial access to prosper. Its main goal is to not only provide loans and capital but also help MSMEs migrate online by digital platforms in marketing their products.

For the agency, these several DTI-initiated programmes to support small businesses, especially small online businesses, which have been growing and thriving during this time of the pandemic needs to continue. The MSME sector is the backbone of the Philippine economy and comprises 99% of businesses in the country. As such, they said that as the nation recovers from the crisis, instead of just adapting to the ‘New Normal’, they should create a ‘Better Normal’.

Experts also reiterated that the country’s trade industry is recovering, resilient and committed to increasing competitiveness both for the economy and its buyers. One silver lining that made this possible is the technology that is bridging the physical gap in this pandemic and they see this as an irreversible trend even after this crisis is over.

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