The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) Board, chaired by President Ferdinand R. Marcos, Jr., convened and approved several high-impact initiatives during its 9th meeting in Malacañang, Socioeconomic Planning Secretary Arsenio Balisacan said on Thursday.

Among these initiatives include the NEDA Board’s confirmation of the proposed Executive Order (EO) that will expedite the processing of licenses, clearances, permits, certifications, and authorizations for the Marcos administration’s Infrastructure Flagship Projects (IFPs).

Balisacan said that the primary goal of the proposed EO is to minimize, if not eliminate, delays in the implementation of IFPs, by requiring all government offices, agencies, and instrumentalities, including LGUs, to streamline the standard procedure and requirements for the IFPs.

“The simplified requirements will be applicable to both pending and new applications within the NEDA Board approved list of IFPs, as well as any additions to the updated IFP list,” Balisacan said.

The EO, which encourages a whole-of-government approach, facilitates electronic application submissions to the concerned agencies and local government units (LGUs), including the payments and issuance of receipts.

By directing national government agencies to automate and computerize their databases, data sharing among government agencies will be promoted to eliminate the unnecessary duplication of document submission.

LGUs are also mandated to establish business one-stop shops and are highly encouraged to coordinate with the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) to adopt interoperable ICT platforms.

In line with this, the Anti-Red Tape Authority (ARTA), in coordination with NEDA, shall establish a reporting framework to track agencies’ compliance.

The Board also approved the reconstitution of the NEDA Board Committee on Infrastructure (INFRACOM) to include the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) and the DICT as integral members of the committee.

The DENR’s inclusion in the INFRACOM underscores the government’s commitment to ensuring that infrastructure development takes into account critical elements such as ecosystem protection, rehabilitation and management, sustainability, and resilience.

This will also ensure representation of the water sector with the recent establishment of the Water Resource Management Office within the DENR.

“Furthermore, as we recognize the continued significance of ICT in overall infrastructure development, DICT will play a vital role in appropriately integrating ICT-related considerations in the committee’s deliberations and decisions,” Balisacan said.

The NEDA Board also confirmed the overall principles and general recommendations for the proposed National Government-Local Government Unit Cost-Sharing schemes for financing infrastructure projects aimed at delineating the roles of the national government and the LGUs, particularly in resource-poor areas.

Balisacan also reported the NEDA Board’s endorsement of the proposed tariff reduction on gypsum and anhydrite from 3.0 to 0 percent, noting these minerals are not produced locally.

These raw materials are used in the production of plasterboard and cement commonly used in the construction sector. Balisacan said that, with the reduction in tariffs, the government anticipates a decrease in production costs and an improvement in the industry’s competitiveness as it ramps up its infrastructure drive.

“With these policy updates, the Marcos administration reaffirms its commitment to aggressively advance infrastructure development in order to enable social and economic transformation and support the attainment of our development goals in the medium term,” Balisacan said of Thursday’s NEDA Board’s approvals and affirmations. |PND