Following the successful launch and implementation of the Invest Easy portal developed by multinational full-service strategic change and technology company Nortal, Oman made an unprecedented leap in the Ease of Doing Business Ranking of the World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2017 report, jumping 127 places up in the category ’Starting a Business’ compared to the previous year.
According to Peeter Smitt, the Middle East region Managing Director at Nortal, the record climb is a direct result of optimized business registry processes and various supporting online services made possible by the Invest Easy portal, a single point of access to all government e-services for entrepreneurs, which has had a substantial impact on local business environment and climate in Oman.
The Invest Easy portal is a major government project led by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry (MoCI) and the Information Technology Authority (ITA) with a goal to transform the way businesses operate in Oman by spearheading the first true e-government initiative in the country. “Starting from the standardization and re-organisation of Oman’s National Business Register and releasing fully online e-services, optimizing commercial registration and activity licensing processes, to the introduction of annual financial reporting – the ambitious vision has gone well beyond a typical software development project, affecting legislation changes as well,” said Smitt.
The total number of legal persons registered in Oman has increased constantly since the first stages of Invest Easy were launched in June 2014. “Invest Easy is not only about the digitalization of processes – we have seen the real impact this seamless e-government solution has had on business environment. In 2014, the total number of legal persons registered was 19 440, in 2015 already 28 158 and during the first 10 months of 2016 the number has increased to 31 984,” added Smitt.
The Invest Easy portal, that brings together 76 various services, allows companies to submit digitally signed documents to Oman’s National Business Register and apply online to start a business, acquire licenses, amend registry data, prepare financial reports and utilize a number of other relevant services for entrepreneurs.
As of April 2016, more than 243 economic activities in Oman are unlicensed, meaning one can start with business activities right after the registration is completed. In addition, there are over 800 licenses that one can apply for online via the Invest Easy portal.
The development of the Invest Easy portal started in the beginning of 2014, work was completed in stages and finalized at the end of July 2016.
The World Bank’s annual Doing Business 2017 report is the 14th in a series of reports that presents quantitative indicators on business regulation and the protection of property rights that can be compared across 190 economies over time. The Doing Business report measures various aspects of regulation affecting the life of a business. The indicators are used to analyze economic outcomes and identify what reforms of business regulation have worked, where and why. Ranking on the ease of doing business includes: starting a business, dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit, protecting minority investors, paying taxes, trading across borders, enforcing contracts, and resolving insolvency. The data in Doing Business 2017 are current as of June 1, 2016. The Doing Business 2017 Report and ranking.
Earlier this year, the reputable Global Enterprise Registration (GER.co) rating awarded Nortal’s business e-portal Invest Easy for the Sultanate of Oman the highest ranking, naming it one of the five best government-to-business (G2B) solutions in the world. 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).
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. Recently Invest Easy also received two prestigious regional awards – the GCC eGovernment Award for the best eGovernment service for the business sector and the Al-Roya Economic Award for the best governmental e-service.
Nortal is a multinational strategic change and technology company. Combining the unique experience of transforming Estonia into a digital leader and creating change in businesses with a strategic approach and data-driven technology, our vision is to build a seamless society. Nortal operates in nearly 20 countries and employs over 500 specialists who carry out high-impact projects across Europe, Middle East and Africa.
Read more in our case study: How the business climate of Oman was transformed by the Invest Easy Reform
Managing Director, Middle East region, Nortal