Help Center for Businesses Opened in Santa Ana
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
SAN SALVADOR– With support from the Municipal Competitiveness Project of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), the Municipality of Santa Ana opened a Business Assistance Center (PAE based on its acronym in Spanish) on April 20, 2012. This office will provide a one-stop center within the municipal government offices to attend to business services. The PAE will facilitate such services by allowing them to be initiated and completed in one single place, thus reducing the number of requirements and steps business owners must follow, as well as the number of visits to the municipality and the wait times to complete these processes.
This initiative is part of an approach outlined in the 2001-2005 Partnership for Growth Joint Action Plan, which demonstrates the solid commitment of the Government of the United States, together with the Government of El Salvador, to support improvements in the local business climate as well as technical assistance to municipal councils.
The opening of the PAE required six months of work with municipal officials. During this time, an analysis of the procedures for business services was carried out, and suggestions were made about how to improve them. These suggestions served as the basis for the creation of processes that were simpler, more efficient, shorter, and quicker. Likewise, user guides and application forms were created to facilitate these business processes in the municipality. Municipal staff have acquired new knowledge and experience on the development of processes by learning this new way of conducting business, which the Municipal Mayor’s Office will replicate in other areas of service to the community.
One example of the results from this work is that now a business owner can register his or her company in 18 minutes or obtain a license or registration in 24 hours, services which previously would have taken up to 7 and 68 business days, respectively.
The USAID project seeks to improve the competitivity of 50 municipalities, which will be assisted through a variety of actions such as improvement in procedures and administration of municipal services to the private business sector and the community. Currently, a similar technical assistance program is being carried out in nine additional municipalities, which form a group of 39 that hope to open business assistance centers. These nine municipalities, which house 36 percent of the Salvadoran business community, are: San Salvador, Santa Tecla, Chalatenango, Aguilares, Ciudad Delgado, Cuscatancingo, Mejicanos, San Martín, and Tonacatepeque.
With the new service offered by the Municipal Mayor’s Office of Santa Ana through the PAE, the USAID project is contributing to the creation of a favorable environment for businesses in the hopes of promoting an increase in investment and the creation of new businesses and jobs. Likewise, it is hoped that this will serve as an incentive to the private sector to register their economic activities with the municipal government, or update their business data. This way, business owners will begin to take advantage of the benefits of legalization, such as separation of assets, access to financing, avoiding fines, and participation in competition for contracts.