A total of 222 companies were successfully registered on the Online Business Registration Platform – also known as the “Single Portal” – in the week from 2pm January 16 to 2pm on the 23rd, bringing the cumulative figure to 21,137, according to the Online Business Registration Service (“OBRS”), the competent government unit.
Additionally, as of January 23 at 2pm, a total of 13,304 companies had at some point made reservations to complete the registration process at a later date. Although no registration applications had been rejected as of then, two reservation requests have been declined.
The government launched the platform on June 15, 2020 to streamline the registration process for companies, as part of a package of sweeping reforms aimed at improving the business and investment environment in Cambodia to better compete internationally, especially during the Covid-19 crisis.
In its initial phase, just six ministries and state-run institutions were linked to the Single Portal: the finance, interior, commerce and labour ministries, and the General Department of Taxation (GDT) and Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
On September 1, 2021, the government deployed Phase II of the platform, integrating four new agencies – the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority’s (NBFSA) Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (REBPB), and the industry, tourism and telecoms ministries.
Hong Vanak, director of International Economics at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, told The Post on January 24 that the relatively simple procedures and transparent law enforcement is encouraging more business owners to register.
For reference, in the 953 days from the Single Portal’s inception until January 23, a daily average of 22.2 companies have been successfully registered. The equivalent figure for the period between January 16 at 2pm and January 23 at 2pm is 43 per cent higher, at 31.7.
Vanak remarked that proper registration aids the government in collecting taxes and adapting to changing business organisation and operations, as well as formulating targeted policies to support specific types of businesses.
He underscored that ensuring that business operations are lawful makes it that much easier for the government to attract foreign investment.
“Registration helps to make competition more transparent and fairer – businesses of similar type and size will also be bound by similar tax and legal obligations,” he added.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng previously commented to The Post that the Single Portal saves businesses loads of time, and reduces corruption, unnecessary costs and the complexities of paperwork and other bureaucratic demands.
He said the platform incentivises local and foreign investors who may be looking to start a business in Cambodia, and provides a plethora of benefits to the economy.
Heng added that the system is also in step with global technological advancements and the Fourth Industrial Revolution game plan developed by the government.
“Investors tend to want a registration system that is simple, fast and low-cost – this [Single Portal] is what the private sector desires. Making it easier to register is a part of motivating those who want to set up shop in Cambodia,” he said.
In June, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth underscored that the Single Portal is part of the government’s “proactive” reform efforts, and was established on three principles: reducing unnecessary procedures, reducing costs, and reducing review times.
“I firmly believe that with the close cooperation of all relevant ministries and institutions, the IT Business Registration Platform – with digital tech at its core – will serve as a valuable basis for the provision of digital public services and opportunities for the national economy,” he said.
The Single Portal can be accessed at registrationservices.gov.kh.