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IFC Plus Launches Project to Simplify Municipal Business Regulations in Bogotá


In Lima
Paul Melton

Phone: + 51 1 611 2510

Email:
pmelton@ifc.org


Bogotá, Colombia, August 11, 2005 — The International Finance Corporations’s Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean (IFC Plus) today signed an interinstitutional agreement with the Mayor of Bogotá, the Chamber of Commerce of Bogotá, and Colombian Confederation of Chambers of Commerce (CONFECAMARAS) to work together to improve the business enabling environment by reforming procedures for business inspections carried out by the Municipality of Bogotá.  

Colombia, one of Doing Business 2005’s “Top Reformers”, has made significant progress in improving the business environment by simplifying the procedures for formalizing businesses, reducing the associated time and costs.  As part of the country’s reform efforts, CONFECAMARAS, in conjunction with local chambers of commerce, has developed a system of “Business Service Centers” (“Centros de Atención Empresarial” or CAEs), one-stop shops for complying with business regulations.


Currently, however, municipal inspections, which are performed after registration, represent a challenge to creating a better business environment and reducing informalitydue to inefficiencies and inconsistencies in their application.  Such discretionality reduces transparency and discourages other businesses from registering.


IFC Plus will work with its local partners to accomplish the following:


·
Create working groups, with private sector representatives, to identify the principal problems businesses encounter during inspections;
·
Evaluate current inspection procedures to identify bottlenecks and opportunities for improvement;
·
Design proposals for reforming inspection procedures and integrating them with the CAEs to improve their efficiency and transparency;
·
Implement the reforms approved through consultation with local stakeholders;
·
Develop and implement mechanisms for sustaining the reforms; and,
·
Monitor and evaluate the results of the reformed procedures.

According to Atul Mehta, IFC Director for Latin America and the Caribbean, “Improving the business environment is an on-going process rather than a one-off event.  This project demonstrates both the Municipality’s commitment to building a better business environment and IFC’s ability to leverage its technical assistance experience and expertise to create innovative solutions for its stakeholders-”

IFC Plus is undertaking business simplification projects in several countries throughout the region, including Bolivia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru.  These projects build on the findings from Doing Businesses, enabling municipal governments to implement the report’s commendations.


The mission of IFC (
www.ifc.org) is to promote sustainable private sector investment in developing countries, helping to reduce poverty and improve people’s lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets, helps clients improve social and environmental sustainability, and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses. From its founding in 1956 through FY04, IFC has committed more than $44 billion of its own funds and arranged $23 billion in syndications for 3,143 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC’s worldwide committed portfolio as of FY04 was $17.9 billion for its own account and $5.5 billion held for participants in loan syndications.

The IFC Technical Assistance Facility for Latin America and the Caribbean (IFC Plus) is a multilateral initiative backed by core IFC funds and program-specific funds from various donors (including Canada, Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland). The facility's work program is focused on improving the business environment, enhancing local benefits from IFC investments, and broadening access to finance for and strengthening the competitiveness of small and medium enterprises. Based in Lima, the facility is operating in six countries (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Peru) and is exploring opportunities in other countries of the region.