One-Stop-Shops Boost Number of MSMEs in Sohag, Egypt

Often, excessive bureaucracy makes entrepreneurs reluctant to register their business activities and transition from informal to formal economic sectors. To help Egypt overcome this challenge, the USAID’s SEED project collaborated with the Sohag Chamber of Commerce to revamp their One-Stop-Shop (OSS). The former Sohag OSS had inherited an outdated system of paperwork, manual archiving and a long chain of approvals for finalizing commercial registration. In July 2017, USAID’s SEED Project adopted the Tamayouz Model to re-establish the Sohag OSS. This model integrated a set of core services necessary for registering a company under the Egyptian Trade Law. Relevant back-office government providers (including the Taxes Office, Chamber of Commerce and Commercial Registry Office) are now co-located in the Sohag OSS, and additional services (like social insurance) will soon be introduced. This model also changed the center from a “One Floor System” to a “One Window System”, where clients deal with only one customer service staff member, instead of going to three or more to acquire all required services.

To eliminate clients fighting over turns in line and better organize the services, a front office of case agents was created, along with the introduction of a simple computerized queuing system. Clients are now immediately referred directly to the specific windows of the service needed, which saves time for clients and energy of staff. Moreover, the long chain of approvals was cut down by granting the Sohag OSS representatives more authority to issue immediate approval letters and certificates. As of April 2018, the number of clients receiving different services varying from registration, taxation and commercial room certificates from the Sohag OSS totals 6064. As a result of several surveys that the project has conducted, they’ve discovered that business owners find the OSS services easy and fast enough to apply for the services in person themselves, instead of sending their lawyers/agents to complete the required tasks on their behalf. Of those surveyed, 22% stated that it took them less than 30 minutes to fill out an application and receive the service requested, and 44% stated it took 30-60 minutes. This is a vast improvement to the former timetable that took up to 4 full days.

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