INVESTMENT ENABLING ENVIRONMENT
(INVEST: 2011 - 2014)

Client: Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG), and the Cities of Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo and Batangas
Funding Source: United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
Contract duration: 2011 - 2014
Sample Activities: LGU capability building and institutional development; information and communications technology development; BPLS policy review; investment planning and promotion

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With the INVEST project, OIDCI earned the distinction of being the first local private company to be awarded a contract by USAID. The INVEST contract took effect in August 2011 and ended in December 2014.

The INVEST project worked towards bringing in more local and foreign investments into the country by cutting red tape and lowering transaction costs in setting up businesses, which remains a bane for many investors. The project was piloted in three urban growth centers, the cities of Iloilo, Cagayan de Oro and Batangas. These partner cities are the first cities under USAID’s Cities Development Initiative (CDI), an integral part of the US-Philippines Partnership for Growth (PFG).

Through INVEST, the partner cities were provided technical assistance in streamlining business registration processes and improving investment planning and promotion to enhance their competitiveness as investment destinations. Among the reforms pursued that were assisted by INVEST were the automation of business permits and licensing system (BPLS) and linking the system with the Philippine Business Registry, establishment of one-stop-shops, and streamlining of inspection systems. The cities’ investment offices and their linkages with other LGU support units were also strengthened. The private/business sector, academe and other local agencies and organizations were engaged to support city-level investment promotion and reform initiatives.

At the national level, INVEST provided technical assistance to DTI, DILG, Department of Finance, Department of Science and Technology, and other relevant agencies to enable them to provide appropriate support to investment-related reform efforts of the partner cities and other urban centers. The INVEST collaborated with the National Competitiveness Center for the development of the Cities and Municipalities Competitiveness Index that was launched in 2014.

In 2013, the partner cities already boasted of fast, streamlined business registration processes that exceeded national standards. In the BPLS Customer Satisfaction Survey of the National Competitiveness Council (NCC) for the same year, Batangas City held the 2nd highest satisfaction score among 14 cities.  In the 2013 Competitiveness Survey of NCC, Cagayan de Oro ranked first in terms of competitiveness among 122 cities, while Iloilo City ranked second.

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