Invest Easy: A Dream Project Facilitating Business in Oman

Invest Easy is one of the initiatives by the Government of Oman. It is an outstanding example of using global best practices and standards to develop the country’s business environment. It is a comprehensive suite of e-services designed to provide the business community with a single-window to interact with the government, starting from establishing a new company, licensing the activities, and ending with submitting annual reports. The initiative is based on the government’s national plan of e-Transformation and the execution is completely based on the whole Government model.

320,811 e-transactions done through 'Invest Easy' portal

The concept of Invest Easy can be described with the Whole of Government Approach. It is a joint effort of several government entities to provide entrepreneurs, prospective investors, and businesses a single point of entry to use high-quality online-services and to conduct official procedures with the whole Government of Sultanate of Oman and minimize the need to visit different Government entities on separate occasions. The main purpose of the Invest Easy initiative is to provide citizens, entrepreneurs, prospective investors, and businesses with the services and information they need quickly and efficiently. This helps transform Oman into a country with an easy, reliable, and transparent business environment.

History

Starting a business in Oman used to be a cumbersome and time-consuming process. All the paperwork had to be done manually, there was no integration between different government entities and the officials were only able to process low volumes of applications. It was not only a difficult process for the applicant, but it was also difficult for the officials.

Invest Easy portal propels Oman 127 places up in World Bank ranking

The One-Stop-Shop (OSS) for Company Registration was set up early in the 2000s when the customer service functions of different government entities were co-located to provide customers with faster service and eliminate the need to physically travel between different locations. Hence the name “one-stop-shop” – to get all company registration services from a single location.

Technology transformation of OSS started in 2003 and the first version of the OSS system went live in 2006. This was an improvement at the time, and the registration of companies increased significantly. In 2010 the second OSS technology transformation project was initiated, and the system was upgraded to work on cloud services which allow system availability to close to 24/7. In 2013 the third OSS business and technology transformation project was initiated and it is called “Invest Easy”.

How It Works

Invest Easy portal (One Stop Shop) provides fast and easy e-services to help set up and manage companies in Oman. Using the e-services helps minimize paperwork and save costs and time.

Commercial Registration

Fast and efficient Business Registration processes within a relatively short period of time.

Full electronic Business Registration process.

Licensing

Fast and efficient Business Activities licensing processes within a relatively short period of time.

Full electronic Business Activities licensing process.

Availability, presence, and accessibility

A single online entry point for the business community to access government services and information.

Flexible, easy, and transparent interaction between the business community and the government.

Multi-channel access to services for the investors: Web application, mobile application, web services, and service providers (SANAD, lawyers, and auditors).

Annual Report

Single annual report integrated and shared with all related entities.

Administrative Capacity

A trustworthy and secure environment for businesses to conduct transactions.

Effective and efficient delivery of services 24/7.

An easy method for e-signing and e-payment.

Services Available Through Invest Easy

  • Registering the business.
  • Facilitating Chamber Certificates.
  • Licensing business activities and simplifying the e-Government Processes.
  • Uploading Annual Reports and sharing it with the related entities.
  • Receiving updates on Laws and regulations.
  • Receiving updates on Fees.

Results of Invest Easy Initiative

The impact of “Invest Easy” covers many areas including ease of starting a business, influencing user behavior, reducing costs on government, increasing government revenue, reducing costs, effort and time on the user, and other positive influences.

The initiative helps simplify registering and managing companies in Oman. It also makes interactions with government entities faster and more transparent. Starting a business now can take only minutes, instead of a whole week. The number of needed processes has been reduced threefold, from 18 to 6. This enables to registration of a substantially larger amount of companies in a fraction of the time previously necessary.

Many business activities can already be started without the need to apply for a license. Currently, there are more than 400 business activities that do not need to be licensed (License-Free Business Activities). That number is growing and the licensing process itself is also being eventually transformed into an online service. It can be noticed today that the average number of “New Commercial Registration” applications has increased from 7,000 applications per year before the launch of the “Invest Easy” initiative to 31,000 applications annually. And the average number of licensing applications, which include licensed and free business activities in addition to the Places of Activities applications, has also increased from 15,000 to 56,000 annually.

استثمـر بسهولـة - سلطنـة عُمـان على تويتر: "ISC will keep you updated regarding the progress of #InvestEasy version 2.0. Your feedback and recommendations are highly appreciated."

In April 2015, the “New Commercial Registration” service was launched and it had been put available in all channels like Invest Easy Offices (Front Offices), e-Portal (Online), and Service Providing Centers. This change helped to make reaching the service easier and faster. It can be noticed that the user is becoming more dependent on the self-service over time. At the same time, it can be noticed that Invest Easy Offices are not anymore having the overload to provide this service except in certain cases where the investor doesn’t have an Omani ID or Resident card. In December 2015, the first “Licensing” service was launched which is “My CR Places of Activities” which helps the investors to define their places of practicing the activities (Branches) and it had been put available in all channels. Accordingly, a lot of Flexible “Free” Business Activities have been defined to not require a license to be practiced, since the curve of creating new places of activities raised up as practicing activities became easier. By the time, the initiative worked on integrating the different licensing entities to the system in order to enable it as a single sign-on window for applying for business licenses and interact with the government. It can be noticed also that the user is becoming more dependent on self-service over time. At the same time, it can be noticed that Invest Easy Offices are not anymore having the overload to provide this service except in certain cases where the license is not yet defined in the system and the license owner is not yet integrated into the system.

Achievements of Invest Easy

77 e-services and 6 versions of the Invest Easy portal.

25 mobile services and 6 versions of the mobile app.

The project has initiated a call center.

The project has established the first e-Services Support Center in Oman.

The e-services launched are used already by over 260,000 users.

The 23 entities that are integrated has consumed over 6 million data.

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