According to Peeter Smitt, Nortal’s Managing Director for the Middle East region, GER.co’s results are a great honor to the company. “Only five countries managed to obtain the perfect rating, the maximum of 10, including Estonia, which is regarded as one of the leaders in IT and innovation. Now Oman provides the same level of service, in some aspects even exceeding Estonia: the record speed of registering a new company via the Omani Invest Easy portal is 1 minute 50 seconds, while the Estonian record is reportedly around 18 minutes. In any case, both countries now lead the world in government-to-business e-services,” said Smitt.
With the Invest Easy portal, local and foreign investors can register and receive their new Commercial Registration online, using a single form, a single set of documents and a single payment. Once the company is registered, its full life cycle can be managed online. The portal is an initiative led by the Sultanate of Oman’s Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and the Information Technology Authority (ITA). The “Invest Easy” system is part of the Omani government’s E-Transformation Program, explained Dr. Salim Al Ruzaiqi, CEO of the ITA. 66 services, involving 14 government agencies, are already available online. “The challenge is to get government agencies, which traditionally work in isolation, to work together and offer joint services so that users feel that they are dealing with only one administration. The main obstacle is the mindset, mental barriers. Technique is not a problem”, Dr. Al Ruzaiqi added.
GER.co’s rating is managed by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the United States Department of State and the Kauffman Foundation’s Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). “We are incredibly impressed by the progress made by the Oman authorities towards a user-centric governance”, said Mr. Joakim Reiter, Deputy Secretary-General of UNCTAD. Mr. Daniel Carl, US delegate to UNCTAD, also congratulated Oman for joining the top five countries rated in the Global Enterprise Registration portal.
GER.co aims to improve business registration services worldwide and to facilitate the exchange of experience and best practices among governments. A perfect rating means a government has implemented a web platform that allows the user to: apply for all mandatory registrations through a single online form, pay all fees through an electronic website included in the platform, receive online all the certificates documenting the business was successfully registered, and contact a competent institution with any problems that may occur during the registration process.
The Invest Easy system has also received further international acclaim. At the recent World Summit on the Information Society award ceremony, it won second place in the Business & Commerce category, which evaluated ICT solutions with high social impact, supporting and optimizing business processes. During the last six months, Invest Easy also received two prestigious regional awards – GCC eGovernment Award for the best eGovernment service for business sector and Al-Roya Economic Awards for the best governmental e-service.
The Invest Easy portal has been making a significant impact on the business environment of Oman. The total number of legal persons registered in Oman increased from 19,228 in 2014 to 26,699 in 2015. And the running year is also showing impressive results. During the first 4 months, there have already been 13,640 new Commercial Registrations. Starting a business using the Invest Easy online service is gaining popularity and in April 2016 already 30% of registrations were completed using the portal.