The Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) on September 1 deployed Phase II of its online business registration platform, known as the “Single Portal”.
Four new agencies have joined the Single Portal in Phase II, adding more classes of business licences and permits available for application on the platform, with an emphasis on priority sectors, in a bid to support national economic growth during the Covid-19 crisis.
These agencies are the Non-Bank Financial Services Authority’s Real Estate Business and Pawnshop Regulator (REBPB), and the industry, tourism and telecoms ministries, Minister of Economy and Finance Aun Pornmoniroth noted during the launch ceremony for Single Portal Phase II.
He said the updated Single Portal system aims to improve the business and investment environment in order to enhance Cambodia’s competitiveness, and is tailored to economic sustainability amid Covid-19, as part of a wider push to digitalise public services.
“The launch Single Portal Phase II clearly epitomises the Royal Government’s reforms to improve the business and investment environment in Cambodia, which have achieved the planned results,” he said.
In Phase I, six ministries and state-run institutions were integrated into the business registration portal, which was launched on June 15, 2020 by the RGC.
Those were the finance, interior, commerce and labour ministries as well as the General Department of Taxation (GDT) and Council for the Development of Cambodia (CDC).
The finance ministry earlier alluded to the possibility of the Ministry of Health or General Department of Customs and Excise of Cambodia joining the Single Portal in the future, but it remains unclear if plans to integrate them were postponed or scrapped altogether.
Of note however, Pornmoniroth has said other unnamed ministries and institutions would be integrated into the system in the future, according to Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng.
Heng stressed that Phase I produced greater results than the private sector had expected, expressing confidence that the system’s performance would be even more successful in the second phase.
He told The Post that the Single Portal “would grease the wheels for the private sector, save time and money, as well as reduce the hassle of filling paperwork to make things easier for domestic and foreign business owners, and assist the progress of all the matters at the top of the private sector’s list”.
Speaking at the ceremony, Phan Phalla, chairman of the inter-ministerial working group overseeing the Single Portal, listed some of the new licences and permits that his team added in Phase II as those for hotels and accommodation services, tourist eateries and travel agencies, thanks to the tourism ministry’s inclusion in the system.
Phalla, who is also finance ministry secretary of state, emphasised that the telecoms ministry’s inclusion would also ratchet up registrations in the information and communication technology (ICT) and postal sectors.
The addition of the industry ministry would boost registrations of small- and medium-sized enterprises, and the incorporation of the REBPR would raise the number of real estate and pawnshop businesses, he said.
“As in Phase I, application for a licence or permit in Phase II can be made entirely online at www.registrationsevices.gov.kh,” he added.
The minister remarked that the RGC has a long-term vision to build a vibrant digital socio-economic ecosystem that spurs new economic growth and bolsters social welfare, in preparation for the “new normal”.
To this end, he said, a concerted effort between all societal stakeholders – including the government, citizens and businesses – is needed to lay the foundation to drive digital adoption and transformation.
He said Single Portal Phase II “contributes to the implementation of this policy framework to take advantage of digital technologies, while we strive to ensure that works continue as usual, especially in the context of the spread of Covid-19, which requires us to minimise face-to-face interactions”.
Pornmoniroth suggested Cambodia reap in and maximise the benefits of advancements in ICT and digital technologies to shore up digital transformation towards improving economic productivity and efficiency, promoting national economic growth and building a civilised society where citizens can profit from the use of inclusive, reliable and highly-secure digital services.
As of August 24, the number of companies registered through Single Portal was 7,715, with a total capital of nearly $3 billion, he said.
He pointed out that the construction sector made up the lion’s share of registered capital, at 25.32 per cent, with the automotive sector – including importers, exporters, buyers, sellers and repair shops – ranking second, at 16.44 per cent.
The next three on the list were real estate (15.53 per cent), manufacturing (14.3 per cent), and finance and insurance (8.22 per cent), he noted.