Nº 4 2013 > WSIS Forum 2013 - Success stories from partners
Electronic licensing in Kazakhstan
In Kazakhstan, an e‑licence information system allows citizens to obtain licences and permits online in a transparent way.
The e‑licence information system project is designed to automate the process of obtaining licences and permits, and is particularly important for citizens in distant parts of Kazakhstan. The first stage of the project (2008–2012) focused primarily on the automation of licences. Now the project is in its second phase (2012–2014), with the main goal of automating the issuance of permits.
Overall implementation of the project is monitored by the Deputy Prime Minister. The Department of Entrepreneurship Development of the Ministry of Regional Development maintains the methodology framework of the project,while the Ministry of Transport and Communications and National Information Technologies JSC (the national operator in the field of informatization) are responsible for the project’s technical implementation.
Kazakhstan has a growing, active civil society. The “Forum of Entrepreneurs of Kazakhstan”, one of the most influential civil society organizations, has experts taking part in the project’s working group. Business representatives consider the validity of each permit document required from the applicant. State agencies are direct participants, as grantors of licences, controlling relevant sectors of the economy.
The licensing system is designed to protect citizens, society and the State from any harm that may be caused by improper pursuit of activity. Developed during Kazakhstan’s transition to a market economy, the permit system sought to protect the business community from risks. But the system had many shortcomings. One is that many permit documents were introduced. For instance, to establish a construction business, an applicant was required to collect 12 different permit documents. Another barrier was in the complexity of business procedures and established requirements. Many months were spent in vain just waiting for a permit, and lost opportunities became commonplace.
While it has not been possible to abolish all regulations, barriers to establishing a business have been reduced as a result of implementing some of the tasks of the e‑licensing project. Now there is less pressure on business. The processes are more accessible, simple and transparent, avoiding risks. The number of permits has been minimized. Both the volume of documents to be submitted and the approval procedures have been reduced. All these changes have simplified the lives of entrepreneurs. In addition, government agencies are now rendering high quality, reliable services. A multifaceted monitoring system was introduced for State agencies. So if an agency fails to respond to a request in time, it faces administrative sanctions.
Some 86 licences for different fields of activity were automated in 2011, with 87 permits added in 2012. The overall number of licences was reduced by half (from 1035 to 517). And 40 permits were transformed into notifications. Such notifications allow businesses to launch their activities as soon as they are notified by the government agency to which they have applied. Some 600 out of more than 1000 types of application documents were optimized. Over 30 000 electronic licences were issued through the www.elicense.kz web-portal.
Given the effectiveness of the project, in 2012 legislation was enacted obliging all State agencies to issue licences in electronic format only. Since then, State agencies have been issuing licences through the e‑license information system.
Today, businesses are not obliged to provide licences when participating in tenders, because the data on their licences are automatically accepted by the electronic public procurement system. The e‑license information system is also integrated into customs and law-enforcement agencies. It is even possible to submit tax reports to the Tax Committee through the system.
Apart from optimizing licensing processes, enormous work has been accomplished in automating important social services. In the past, it took more than 30 days to register a business, but in 2012, this was reduced to a few hours through the electronic government web portal. Since the launch of this service, more than 6000 companies have been registered through the www.egov.kz portal.
Kazakhstan E‑license web portal was named the best project in the “e‑Business” category of the WSIS Project Prizes 2013 global contest.