A total of 3,789 businesses were successfully registered on the Online Business Registration Platform, also known as the “Single Portal”, in the 125 days to October 17, bringing the cumulative figure to 18,465, according to the Online Business Registration Service, the competent government agency.
The agency said in a notice that 1,698 applications are currently under review. Additionally, since the platform’s inception, 12,073 companies have made reservations to complete the registration process at a later date, with 355 more currently under review. The average time for completing the registration process remains at eight days.
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.
Royal Academy of Cambodia economics researcher Ky Sereyvath believes that the Single Portal and its links to a range of institutions offer copious benefits to businesses owners facing challenges, as well as to the government in terms of, inter alia, tax collection and administrative affairs.
The platform makes it easier to formulate policies that could improve access for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SME) to incentives, skills training and tax breaks, he told The Post on October 18.
It also validates the legitimacy of businesses and keeps clear income and expenditure records that improve owners’ abilities to obtain formal loans to support or expand operations, he added.
Of note, a whopping 20.52 per cent of the companies included in the Single Portal were registered in just 125 of the 855 days since the platform’s launch, or 14.62 per cent of its existence. This, Sereyvath claimed, was largely due to government calls to businesses and legal persons conducting e-commerce operations in Cambodia to apply for the required permits or licences and pay any applicable fines.
In a letter issued on July 7, the Ministry of Commerce recapped that it had postponed the implementation of fines for the late submission of applications four times, which it noted went into effect on July 4.
Sereyvath remarked that e-commerce players would be more motivated to go through the commerce ministry’s procedures if they were simpler, and if the authorities would better explain the relevant tax regime.
Cambodia Chamber of Commerce (CCC) vice-president Lim Heng believes that the Single Portal is a draw for interested foreign investors to register and do business in the Kingdom, affirming that it provides companies with access to a larger market, various government benefits and an overall confidence boost.
“If they don’t register, companies could miss out on government incentives, and this technology-backed registration process saves loads of time and reduces bureaucracy,” 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.