Registering Businesses Online: A Progressive Step Forward in Improving Uzbekistan’s Business Environment
Opening a business without leaving home? Easy!
According to the law, state registration of enterprises and entrepreneurs as business entities is a starting point for any business. Given that the state registration for businesses is mandatory, the number of entrepreneurs is rising, and that technologies are spreading at a high speed, the President of Uzbekistan arranged to simplify business registration process (see Decree of the President of the Republic of Uzbekistan dated 18.07.2012 № UP - 4455). "Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase 2)” is actively participating in improving business climate in the country, and through joint efforts of ministries and governmental agencies, it has become possible to register a company online, right in the comfort of your own home.
In many countries, issues related to electronic registration of businesses have been getting a lot of attention for a long time, and successful examples can be found all around the world. Moreover, some countries have chosen to create so-called ‘e-government’ frameworks that can provide public services to citizens online. Thus, through the use of computer technologies personal interaction between state agencies and the public is minimized, which helps eliminate subjective approach when considering the documents, and saves time and effort to citizens.
For example, a similar program has been successfully used for over a decade in the USA. Thousands of websites of government agencies have joined in the single portal FirstGov, where residents of all states can enquire various governmental agencies via the Internet. A similar system operates in the UK under the name "E-citizen, E-business, E-government". Specifically, citizens can receive certificates and documents, submit complaints and petitions, fill tax returns and receive help and feedback online through the system, by using different means of telecommunication. Speaking of online business registration in particular, it is already widely used in many countries, including New Zealand, Singapore, and Canada, which are incidentally among the leaders in World Bank “Doing Business” ranking. Moreover, e-registration was launched in Russia in 2011, and a little later, in Ukraine. Uzbekistan followed this global tendency and with the assistance of "Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase 2 )” project, from 1 January 2014 the mechanism of electronic registration of businesses through the Internet. This system registration is available through single web-portal of public services of the Republic of Uzbekistan (www.my.gov.uz), and is one of the elements of the "Electronic Government ", which is being actively implemented in Uzbekistan nowadays.
For successful operation of e-registration of businesses, 10 standard types of constituent documents were defined for different forms of organisations, which can be processed interactively. Electronic registration will allow to improve and reduce the response time of registration authorities, tax services, as well as to simplify the processes of assigning TIN and business classification number. Almost all the founding documents, certificates can be provided and submitted in electronic form, and digital signature is used to ensure legal authenticity. What is more, it is possible to pay the state duty for registration of businesses online using modern plastic cards that are widely used by population.
Undoubtedly, the introduction of any innovation, new technologies, and in this case, online registration, leads to significant improvements the various processes and reduces associated costs and time. But it is important not to forget that introduction of innovations cannot do without proper training of the users, in our case employees of governmental registration-related agencies. So far, a series of training workshops in the regions was conducted in order to inform people about the new features and educate workers of registration authorities. Such seminars have already been held in Karakalpakstan , Khorezm, Surkhandarya, Kashkadarya , Navoi, Bukhara, Tashkent regions and Tashkent city, with over 500 attendees.
Electronic registration significantly decreases the time spent on business establishment, and makes the whole process easier for entrepreneurs- there is no need in "running" through numerous state agencies and their officials and personally contacting them anymore. It is especially worthwhile to mention that the adoption of measures in 2012-2013 aimed at creating a more favorable business environment, positively influenced position of Uzbekistan in World Bank “Doing Business” ranking. Having jumped by 66 positions, Uzbekistan now occupies 21th place among 189 countries in terms of ease of business registration in the World Bank report, just after the USA, which settled on 20th place.
The joint project of UNDP and CCI "Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase 2) is constantly working on identifying areas for improvement in business sector of Uzbekistan, and will continue to develop further suggestions to make the procedure of business registration less expensive and more efficient.