ARTA program to cut red tape in priority sectors by half in one year

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ARTA director general Atty. Jeremiah Belgica during Project NEHEMIA's launch on March 3
ARTA director general Atty. Jeremiah Belgica during Project NEHEMIA’s launch on March 3

The Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA) has launched its flagship program that aims to reduce the time, cost, requirements, and procedures in sectors of economic and social significance—including logistics—by 52% within 52 weeks.

The National Effort for the Harmonization of Efficient Measures of Inter-related Agencies or Project NEHEMIA, launched on March 3, is a sector-based streamlining effort that involves both capacity building with identified agencies and public hearings with stakeholders regarding existing and new regulations.

Inter-agency reviews will also be adopted for horizontal integration or end-to-end processing in the delivery of government services. ARTA noted that in current practice, government agencies and their offices function independently from each other, creating redundant processes that procure the same information repeatedly but achieve minimal results.

“The Program NEHEMIA shall break down the silo system and the lack of interconnection among government agencies. Our government must be a singular unit serving the country, with the citizens being our primary client,” ARTA director general Atty. Jeremiah Belgica said in a statement.

Project NEHEMIA is pursuant to the Implementing Rules and Regulations of Republic Act No. 11032 (Ease of Doing Business and Efficient Government Service Delivery Act of 2018), which mandates ARTA to adopt a whole-of-government approach in streamlining government services.

It is also aligned with recently released Administrative Order No. 23 series of 2020 signed by President Rodrigo Duterte that orders the elimination of over-regulation to promote efficiency of government processes.

Sectors included in the first phase of the program are common towers and interconnectivity, housing, food and pharmaceutical, logistics, and energy. Belgica earlier told PortCalls that ARTA has identified logistics as one of the priority sectors of Project NEHEMIA as it is “a heavily complained sector.”

READ: ARTA: Trading, transpo among priorities for gov’t streamlining

The Office of the Executive Secretary will be the lead coordinating agency of the program while the Office of the Cabinet Secretary and ARTA will act as co-chairs. The Department of Information and Communications Technology, meanwhile, will lead the development of the digital infrastructure for the automation of government service.

The program of reform for each of the sectors will be spearheaded by the department secretary or secretaries whose respective departments exercise jurisdiction over most, if not all, of the sector.

The Department of Transportation will be the lead for the logistics sector, and member agencies include the Bureau of Customs, Civil Aeronautics Board, Department of Interior and Local Government, Department of Trade and Industry, Land Transportation Franchising and Regulatory Board, Land Transportation Office, Philippine Economic Zone Authority, and Philippine Ports Authority.

Last March 6, ARTA held an inter-agency meeting on the logistics sector to discuss issues regarding regulations that constrict flow of trade and goods distribution.

The involved government offices will be signing a memorandum of understanding to specify, among others, the roles and responsibilities of each agency under the program. – Roumina Pablo

Photo courtesy of ARTA website