Does the one-stop-shop approach open new opportunities for local entrepreneurs?

Jul 27, 2015

The huge demand for electronic document management system is evidenced by the compelling figures provided on the Single Portal of Interactive Public Services https://my.gov.uz/ To date, out of more than 250,000 applications, approximately 140,000 (55%) have been made by entrepreneurs. Is this an indicator of the need to diversify the channels (ways) of public service delivery to businesses? Definitely. Then how one should solve the problem of limited access to the Internet and lack of trust in online procedures and call-centers?

The introduction of the one-stop-shop approach to public services for Uzbekistan’s entrepreneurs is a universal solution to many concerns. International experience proves the effectiveness of this practice. This approach to providing public services was developed at the beginning of the last century in the United States and called “one-stop-shop” (purchase of all necessary goods in one shop). Initially, it was a business model of providing multiple services in one place and by one stop. In the mid 90s the practice was scaled-up and today, these centres are operating successfully in Australia, Germany, Canada, Kazakhstan, Russia and other countries. Nowadays, by the way, websites, TV programmes and other projects based on providing multiple services in one spot are called one-stop-shops.

In Uzbekistan, public service one-stop-shops have been launched with UNDP’s assistance in the Sergeli District in 2009. The OSS operates in accordance with the principle of representation of all relevant public agencies in one place. Similar centers were established in Namangan and Jizzakh. There, applicants could solve mainly some social issues.

Another example of one-stop-shop development has been the piloting of the Business Facilitation Centers under the Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Andijan, Gulistan, Ferghana and Turtkul. The initiative was implemented by the joint project of the CCI and UNDP “Business Forum of Uzbekistan” through the modern ICT, web technologies, electronic registers, electronic online payment systems and various information portals (businessinfo.uz).

Public service delivery to businesses through OSSs promises to become a new level not only in the improvement of public administration and e-governance, but also in the improvement of the country’s business environment. According to Presidential Decree UP-4725 dated May 15, 2015 "On the measures to ensure reliable protection of private property, small business and private entrepreneurship and remove barriers to their rapid development"; the centers are to start working no later than January 2016.

As of today, large-scale preparatory work is done based on the previous experience. In particular, the Ministry of Justice, the joint project of the CCI and UNDP “Business Forum of Uzbekistan (Phase III)” and other stakeholders have been working on a regulatory framework that will ensure the implementation and operation of the OSSs.

OSSs are planned to be based on the existing 193 inspectorates for business registration established under districts (city) hokimiyats by a Government resolution.

These inspectorates will be transformed across the country and assigned with concrete functions and objectives. They will also have a clear mechanism to partner with public institutions through the currently developed system of electronic communication. OSSs will be made sustainable for a long term prospective through well-thought financing measures.

The mechanism of OSSs for businesses will be very simple. Along with personal request procedures, the OSS offices will also have an electronic lining system to set the order of requests to be made to the operator – a responsible OSS officer. The operator will receive the clients, help them file the documents, if needed, and register their requests and applications. This will be followed by automatic transfer of the requests to the relevant public agency authorized to process and decide on such requests. All responses to requests will be given at the same OSS without the requester’s direct approach to the public agencies that provide the services.

Business will also have the opportunity to make their requests or applications through the Unified Portal of Interactive Public Services (www.my.gov.uz) by filling in an application. An online application or request will be automatically transferred to relevant public agencies. With this modality, the applier should know the procedures for using the portal or call the call-center to receive the explanations from the portal’s officer.

What are the benefits for the entrepreneur?

First, an opportunity to consult with a specialist and us the public service remotely by calling, making an on-line request or coming personally to the front-office. At the office, entrepreneurs will be able to obtain needed information or consultation and apply for specific documents they need (statements, evidence, permissions, etc.), apply for registration of ownership rights for property, business registration, and submit tax, financial, statistical and other types of reports.

Second, a number of public services will be rendered exclusively through OSSs. It is also proposed to prohibit acceptance of direct requests made from entrepreneurs to public agencies and demand personal presence of or communicating to applicants during the consideration of the applications for public services included into the special list of services provided exclusively through OSSs.

Third, the absence of direct contact with public officers will help prevent corruption and remove red tape.

Fourth, the introduction of the electronic interaction mechanism between public agencies will help cut accelerate public service delivery thus facilitating and streamlining the work of the public service providers.

Today, the World Bank’s Doing Business ranks Uzbekistan 141. The introduction of one-stop-shops for businesses will open real shops of convenient opportunities for business.

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