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Necessary to simplify procedure for founding companies

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Director of the Business Registers Agency Zvonko Obradovic said yesterday that the procedure for founding companies in Serbia requires more than 20 days, even though registration in the Agency can be completed within three days.

According to a survey by the Swedish Register on current achievements in registering businesses, which covered more than 20 European and non-European countries and was presented at the 11th Annual Conference of the European Commerce Registers’ Forum (ECRF), company registration in Serbia requires three days on average, while the average for 36 European countries which participated in the survey is two days.

Obradovic said that most frequently the Registers Agency registers a company in less than three days, but getting a tax identification number and other administrative procedures for founding a company take much longer, so the entire procedure is prolonged over more than 20 days.

He recalled that, according to the draft national strategy for economic development from 2006, a one-stop system should be introduced this year, but the process is being slowed down by the current political situation in the country.

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According to Obradovic, several laws on taxation must be changed in order to introduce a one-stop system. Serbia is equipped to have a one-stop system since the Tax Administration can exchange electronic data with the Pension Fund.

The Agency is ready to implement electronic signatures and make it possible to register businesses electronically, but the problem is that electronic signatures are not being implemented completely in Serbia, explained Obradovic.

He said that introducing a fully electronic system would reduce costs not only for those starting a business but also for the Agency, which processed 567,000 cases last year and ran into enormous mailing and stationary expenses.

He recalled that the World Bank publishes information about all countries concerning the time required to found a company. Investors monitor this information and the capital goes where administrative procedures are simple.

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Obradovic said that because of this it is necessary to introduce a so called “guillotine of regulations”, in order to simplify administrative procedures.

Business registers’ representatives from 33 countries from Europe, Asia, Africa and North America, as well as representatives from the World Bank, Foreign Investors Council, Organisation of Economic Co-operation and Development and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development are taking part in the two day conference which is the most important annual meeting of the ECRF.

(Government of Serbia)

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