NEW BUSINESS REGISTRATION IN ARMENIA: USING THE ONLINE SERVICE PROVIDED BY THE GOVERNMENT

This article presents the vivid difference and advantages of the e-service of registration for new businesses in Armenia, which the author has investigated.

The e-service is provided by the State Register of Legal Entities of the Republic of Armenia which makes the registration process much easier, faster and quite more transparent than it was years ago.

Further is the comparative description of firm registration processes in Armenia before and after the e-service implementation.

The new service provision made unnecessary to visit the register body, which contains many disadvantages such as time wasting in order to find the right place, right officer on the right time and with the right mood.

Now, the website of Electronic register www.e-register.am presents all the details and friendly suggestions the business starters need for a firm registration.

The process begins from the selection of a firm name. Years ago the name selection implied filling the application form in the office of register body, and the application processing lasted for several days. If the name did not meet specific criteria or was already in use, the process was repeated from the beginning, and could take many days and even weeks.

The speed of approvement and causes of rejection of the selected firm name was not transparent and was heavily related on decisions of the register body officers, who had leverages to speed-up or slow-down the approvement process, which, logically, contained a risk of biased behavior and even corruption.

Now the automated approach allows entrepreneurs to select a firm name online just in few seconds. Selection procedure becomes similar to registration of new e-mail or a social network account.

The next step is the submission of a new firm charter. Now the e-system provides applicants with a standard chart which is quite enough for beginners. Previously, the applicants were forced to create their charters by themselves and were forced to agree the charters with the registration body. This approvement necessity also gave the registry officers authority and leverages on accepting or rejecting the charters prepared by applicants.

Some unfair employees of the registering body might use that power to create artificial obstacles for business beginners, who commonly do not have enough resources to hire experts for getting appropriate advice. It is obvious that such approach was increasing the risk of corrupted behavior.

The final process of firm registration, after the firm name selection and charter approvement, might still last for weeks. Again the appropriate officials had a power to influence the registration speed, which was also associated with the corruption risk.

Now the whole business registration process becomes online without face-to-face contact with the registry body, thus the risk of corruption and biased attitude is significantly reduced.

Another useful e-service provided on the noted web portal is the online database of all the registered entities in Armenia, including executive body members, creation date, owners, official charters and other information.

This tool in line with the other Armenian e-service provided on www.datalex.am judiciary portal, which contains information about all legal cases of Armenia, makes possible to know if the potential partner company, its owners and/or executive body members have been involved in court cases, whether they and the company have debts to the Government or are in bankruptcy process.

This helps to evaluate anonymously the partner’s business reputation, which was impossible before the above mentioned e-services execution.

Despite the described progress in business registration, most of the services provided by the Armenian government are still offline and cannot be considered as efficient, require face-to-face contact with state bodies and citizens, which, unfortunately, may contain a risk of corruption.

In conclusion, it should be noted that Armenia has positive shifts toward online public services provision, however the country has a long way to pass before achieving full-fledged electronic Government. – Anna Banduryan, Armenia

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