Electronic services for business entities
In line with modern challenges, work is underway to computerize the services provided by the Ministry of Economy and automate the exchange of information between information systems. Entrepreneurs can use these services to obtain the necessary economic and legal information and obtain certain title documents (licenses, certificates of origin, notices of registration of grant agreements (decisions) in relation to commercial organizations and public legal entities, etc.) related to entrepreneurial activities. Access to electronic services provided by the Ministry can be obtained through www.economy.gov.az, www.lisenziya.gov.az and sections of electronic services created on the websites of subordinate bodies of the Ministry, as well as through a section reflecting the name of the relevant service.
Applicants in the electronic services section can download the relevant application forms from the system and attach scanned copies of the required documents. In this case, a notification of confirmation is sent to the applicant.
Licenses and Permits
Through the "Licenses and Permits" portal (www.lisenziya.gov.az), users can apply electronically for the acquisition and re-issuance of licenses and attachments to licenses for 23 types of activities. The second version of the portal was launched on May 13, 2020. To obtain a license, the user signs in on the portal with an enhanced electronic signature, creates an electronic account and selects the appropriate type of activity in this electronic account. The information required in the application window that pops up in accordance with the type of licensed activity selected on the portal is taken from the participants' information systems and reflected by the portal. In the absence of the required information in information systems, scanned copies of the necessary documents for the selected type of activity are attached to the application and confirmed by the user's enhanced electronic signature.
Through the "Licenses and Permits" portal, the user tracks the application process and pays the state fee required by law for issuing a license, and the license is confirmed by an enhanced electronic signature and sent to the user's electronic account.
Issuance of Preferential Loans
Processes such as further facilitation of access of business entities to financial resources, processing of loan applications in a short time, acceptance of applications, necessary analysis by credit institutions and “Azerbaijan Business Development Fund” public legal entity (Entrepreneurship Development Fund) and delivery of decisions to entrepreneurs are carried out through the Electronic Loan Platform (www.e-edf.gov.az) developed by the Ministry of Economy.
The business entity enters the "Electronic Loan Platform" through the "ASAN signature" from the website www.e-edf.gov.az, and it is automatically determined whether its field of activity belongs to the types of economic activities that are affected by the pandemic. An entrepreneur whose field of activity is affected by pandemic-type economic activity selects an authorized credit institution to apply for a loan requiring collateral, fixes the loan amount in accordance with the business plan, and approves the application. A business entity can obtain information about the results of consideration of the application by entering the "Personal Account" on the "Electronic Loan Platform".
So, an entrepreneur who wants to receive a state-guaranteed loan enters the necessary information into the Electronic Loan Platform, selects an authorized credit organization and approves the application, indicating the loan amount in accordance with the business plan. The application of a business entity is considered within 7 working days for a quick loan (up to 200,000 manats) and 10 working days for a traditional loan (over 200,000 manats). In case of rejection of the application of a business entity whose field of activity is affected by the pandemic, the entrepreneur shall be entitled to re-apply through this or another authorized bank after the elimination of the deficiencies indicated as reasons.
Providing business loans through this electronic system creates a number of benefits for entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs apply for business loans online, their applications are simultaneously considered by authorized credit institutions and the Ministry of Economy, and the status of applications can be tracked in real time. The use of the Electronic Loan Platform also creates the basis for flexibility and transparency in obtaining loans, ensuring a level playing field for entrepreneurs, creating a healthy competitive environment and expanding entrepreneurs' access to loans, saving time and money.
As part of the mechanism for providing state guarantees for business loans in areas affected by the pandemic and subsidizing interest on these loans, up to 60% of the new loan portfolio of 500 million manats is guaranteed by the state. In addition, 50% of the annual interest rates on these loans are subsidized by the government. This mechanism applies to loans with a term of 3 years, an interest rate of no more than 15% per annum and a grace period of up to 12 months.
Support for SMBs
The issuance of the Startup certificate for the manufacture of a product (service) based on an innovative initiative that is competitive, and also not identical to other start-up products (services) produced for the purpose of making a profit or earning income, is carried out by Small and Medium Business Development Agency of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
"SMB Queue" Mobile App for SMB Houses
SMB Houses currently operate in Khachmaz and Yevlakh, where about 20 public and private organizations provide more than 200 public business (G2B) and basic business-to-business (B2B) services in a single space. Government services for entrepreneurs in taxation, property, connection to utilities, food security, agriculture, advertising, mailing, certificates of origin, acquisition of licenses and permits, and essential business services such as banking, insurance, leasing, translation, and design by private sector are provided in SMB Houses.
Entrepreneurs wishing to use the services of SMB Houses can get in a queue using the SMB Queue App. The use of "SMB Queue" allows entrepreneurs to save their time by preventing the loss of additional time in SMB Houses.
In January-September 2021, some 29,500 entrepreneurs have benefited from services provided by public and private institutions in SMB Houses. Of the services provided in SMB Houses, 27,031 fall to the share of G2B and 2,412 to B2B services. The level of satisfaction of entrepreneurs with the services provided in SMB Houses is 98%.
SMB Development Centers
The SMB Development Agency regularly organizes trainings, seminars, workshops and other events to provide "lifelong learning" opportunities for micro, small and medium businesses. One of the SMBDA contact platforms with entrepreneurs is the mechanism of SMB Development Centers (SMBDCs) to achieve the goal of providing SMBs with access to knowledge and innovation. The www.kobim.az website was launched, which includes the activities of about 20 Small and Medium Business Development Centers, which are part of the SMBDA structure, and became the first online business training platform in Azerbaijan. Video content is being developed for the platform, covering more than 500 different topics.
Video Training Platform
With the aim of expanding the learning opportunities for entrepreneurs and accelerating the application of best business practices, SMBDA has created a video training platform www.kobim.az based on an innovative approach and modern practice. The platform includes 180 educational videos, thematic presentations and self-assessment quizzes in the areas of starting a business, soft skills, corporate law, project management, finance, sales, marketing, tourism, and directions of organization of the export process.
During January-September 2021, SMBDCs conducted 1,077 face-to-face and online trainings, which were used by more than 14,500 SMBs, start-ups and those who want to start a business. Within this time period, consulting services were provided to more than 1,200 enterprises. Potential entrepreneurs interested in entrepreneurship in different regions and in need of consulting services and training in this area, including women, young people with business ideas and those who want to start a family business, as well as those who want to develop their business can sign in at www.kobim.az to take advantage of free video training and test their knowledge with self-assessment quizzes.
All services provided by SMB Development Centers are free of charge. There is also an option for SMBs to apply electronically through the website to participate in trainings tailored to their needs.
Online Trading Portal
The platform www.kobmarket.az, based on the concept of "e-commerce", was launched to promote goods and services of micro, small and medium businesses through a single platform and sell them on the Internet. The portal was created mainly to support the development of micro and small businesses, the implementation of online sales and promotion of goods and services of small and medium businesses through a single platform.
To open an online shop, the portal provides a simple registration process, which allows entrepreneurs to expand their sales opportunities by opening an online shop in a short time and listing their products. The portal has many tools that will provide the entrepreneur with information about sales for each online store, inventory management for in-store products, customer analysis and other necessary sales information in the form of a report. The portal also allows users to use a single payment system and delivery services.
In addition to expanding online sales opportunities for entrepreneurs, www.kobmarket.az aims to support the development of online trading in the country, speed up the process of digitalization of SMBs and consumers, as well as increase non-cash payments and reduce the "shadow economy".
Registered entrepreneurs have already created more than 90 online shops and placed about 1,500 products.
Taking the entrepreneur and customer satisfaction as the main principle, the portal is working to add innovation to the application of modern electronic solutions and expand the scale of sales through the platform.
According to the Presidential Decree no. 606 of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated April 3, 2019 "On the application of the Law no. 1545-VQD of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated March 29, 2019 "On amendments to the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan "On the State Register of Real Estate", real estate statements began to be issued only in electronic form. Thus, the process of filing real estate statements in paper form was completely abolished.
The main purpose in issuance of statements in electronic form is to minimize communication between citizens and officials in the process of registering real estate, increasing efficiency and optimality in this area by further simplifying the registration of property. A coordinated integration of electronic signature services with the Ministry of Digital Development and Transport was carried out to ensure the process of electronic signing of statements. The new functionality of the electronic service "Receiving an electronic statement" has been improved, the applicants were given the opportunity to get notifications and SMS by e-mail when accepting an electronic statement, and the electronic service "Checking the Electronic Statement" was optimized. A QR code has been added to e-statements in order to increase the user's ability to more conveniently check the information contained in electronic statement.
Furthermore, the electronic statement system, in turn, eliminates the risks associated with the loss of a paper statement, its invalidity, and the case of forgery and illegal use of a paper statement by other persons is completely excluded.
It is also planned to implement a number of other innovations in the field of real estate, which in turn will eliminate many difficulties in this area:
Operation of the Land Cover Monitoring System (LCMS), designed to monitor the efficient use of land, was improved. The machine learning algorithm has been improved and the accuracy of the system has been enhanced by adding new and more accurate information to the system, which automatically detects changes in surface objects and the classification of vegetation. An Analytical Group was established to improve the quality of the data.
In order to provide information on the results of electronic land registration in the country to users in each area, both free of charge and for a fee, work is underway to create a "Cadastral Portal".
Also, acceptance in electronic form of the "Registration Sheet of State Real Estate", issued by state agencies and organizations, was provided and integrated for this purpose into a system, the emdk.gov.az Internet portal, developed jointly with the Information Technologies and Data Management Center.
Electronic Auction System
"Electronic Auction" is an information system with a single web platform, designed for conducting electronic auctions. The e-auction software provides 8 e-services for organizing auctions from this platform. At the same time, in the “Watch the auction online” section, appropriate opportunities have been created to monitor the progress of each auction.
Article 165.5 attached to the Tax Code provides for the reimbursement of VAT paid on goods (excluding oil and gas products) purchased by consumers who are individuals from individuals engaged in activities in the field of retail trade and public catering. The VAT reimbursement process is carried out through the edvgerial.az portal. The amount of VAT entered on the portal is placed in a virtual "wallet", active when creating an electronic account. These funds can be used to pay for utilities, mobile, communications, the Internet, television, fines and insurance payments, as well as make transfers to internal bank cards.
Based on the results of the "Azerbaijan Innovation Award", organized by the Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies within the framework of "InnoWeek - Innovation Week 2020", the “VAT Reimbursement” project, launched by the State Tax Service under the Ministry of Economy in 2020, was selected as the winner of the competition in the “Innovative Project of the Year” nomination.
In general, in January-September 2021, more than 9,882,000 applications for services provided by the Ministry of Economy were registered, of which 91.6% (more than 9,052,000) fall to the share of electronic services.