A total of 22,713 companies, with cumulative “registered share capital” of $6.40 billion, were approved by the six first-phase agencies and successfully registered on the Online Business Registration Platform – also known as the “Single Portal” – as of March 6 at 2pm, the Online Business Registration Service (“OBRS”) reported.

At the same time, a total of 13,947 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 against the backdrop of the Covid-19 crisis and Fourth Industrial Revolution.

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), along with the industry, tourism and telecoms ministries.

The OBRS, which is under the Ministry of Economy and Finance, reported that 38 per cent per cent of the companies on the Single Portal were women-owned as of March 6 at 2pm.

Broken down by business activities, “building construction” accounted for the lion’s share at $1.03 billion or 16 per cent, followed by “real estate activities involving the use of one’s own, or leased properties” ($739 million; 12%), “management consulting” ($354 million; 6%), “financial intermediation” ($332 million; 5%), “manufacture of wearing apparel, except fur apparel” ($309 million; 5%).

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng commented to The Post on March 8 that the “convenient” Single Portal has driven a steady rise in legal business registrations, which he stressed on the whole make it easier for the government to hold the reins and perform a variety of key tasks.

These tasks, he said, include gathering accurate information on business activities; collecting taxes; ensuring transparency in industry-specific competition; and understanding which laws are effective in their implementation and enforcement, so as to remedy any potential issues with policies or support measures.

The Single Portal also offers the private entrepreneurial community an easier alternative to set up fully legitimate businesses safeguarded by a suite of legal protections, and reduces informal costs tied to the process, he said, adding that the platform is part of broader efforts to attract foreign investors to the Cambodian market.

In June 2020, 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.