Over the previous years, the Serbian Business Registers Agency (SBRA) has been continuously introducing numerous new electronic services for businesses and other customers. With the introduction of the electronic submission of financial statements, which is mandatory for all companies, some sole proprietors and other legal entities, the Agency has been recognised as a catalyst for the use of digital signatures
It now takes just one or two working days to register a new business with the SBRA. Citizens can submit electronic applications for the establishment of a sole proprietorship or a limited liability company, without having to come to the Agency. This month CorD discussed this and other innovations with SBRA Director Milan Lučić.
The 2019 SIGMA Monitoring Report has recognised the Agency as one of the “digital champions” in Serbia in the area of the provision of public administrative services. How did the Agency deserve this flattering title?
– One of the SBRA’s digital services mentioned in the SIGMA Report is the e-filing of information about beneficial owners.
So far, 80% of registered entities have submitted the required information electronically to the Central Records of Beneficial Owners kept by the SBRA. The Report also mentions the Agency’s leading role in abolishing the requirement of the stamp (or seal) on documents, as an important reform step that saves companies both time and money.
Thanks to our strong IT capacities, we were entrusted with the task of establishing the information system of the Central Register of Integrated Procedures for the electronic issuance of construction and other permits in the domain of construction.
With the introduction of the Register of Integrated Procedures, construction permit issuance became easier, while the administrative costs of conducting procedures were reduced, which is why the last annual report of the World Bank that measures business regulations ranked Serbia 9th on the Doing Business list according to the indicator ‘Dealing with construction permits’.
As of this October, the SBRA will also launch the electronic registration of health institutions, so we are continuing the digitalisation of our services
You work systematically, continuously and with great dedication to ease procedures for businesses. Are you working on the further digitalisation of administrative services?
– At the beginning of this year, we made it possible to submit electronic applications for the registration of financial leasing contracts. Leasing companies are currently adapting to the new system, so we have yet to implement this innovation fully. The new software supports work with documentation in both analogue and digital form, and citizens can easily search registered data on the basis of various criteria.
In the year in which we celebrate the 15th anniversary of our operations, we are also preparing the Register of Pledges on Movable Property and Rights to shift to a digital mode of operation, with the online registration of pledge rights to begin in the third quarter of next year. As of this October, the SBRA will also launch the electronic registration of healthcare institutions, so we are continuing to improve the area of registration and the digitalisation of our services.
You recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Serbia. Tell us more about that…
– That’s a natural continuation of our cooperation, which relates to easing access to business data and creating new services. On the international front, the SBRA and the CCIS lead two very important regional projects that are supported by the EBRD. Both projects provide support for the regional economic integration of the Western Balkans.
The SBRA, together with the Central Register of the Republic of North Macedonia, has established the SEE Regional Business Registries Portal — BIFIDEX, which provides business information about companies and sole proprietors registered in the official business registration authorities of the Western Balkans, in a transparent and easily accessible digital way.
We are united around a common goal – easing cross-border connections and establishing stronger regional cooperation for the joint participation of businesses operating in the single market of the Western Balkans, which encompasses 18 to 20 million people.