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Armenia

Accountability Licensing (AM0032)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Not Attached

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia

Support Institution(s): Staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia; Harmonious Development NGO (upon consent)

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, E-Government, Legislation & Regulation, Records Management

IRM Review

IRM Report: Armenia End-Term Report 2016-2018, Armenia Progress Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Did Not Change

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Issue subject to regulation: Currently, the Republic of Armenia has no unified register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, and information on the existence, absence of a license or its authenticity with the original is verifiable only through the use of hard copy information. Licenses are posted on the respective official websites of issuing authorised bodies under the principle of random selection. At the same time, during competitions or other events held by state bodies, the process of verifying mandatory availability of a license or its validity may be carried out more easily and effectively if there is a unified electronic system, since the verifying party may — by using the state unified electronic register of licenses — verify the information on the availability of a license and its validly by simply entering the number and the date of the license.; Main objective: Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification will help further simplify the process of issuing a license and the administration related to types of activities subject to notification, as well as reduce potential corruption risks.; Brief description of commitment: Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, and digitalization of licenses issued.; OGP challenge addressed by the commitment: Improvement of public services Enhancement of public integrity; Relevance to OGP values: Availability of a unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing and notification will, in terms of access to information, serve as a major impetus for the increase in transparency of the field, public accountability and provision of public services.; Ambition: Availability of a unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, which will contribute to public accessibility of information pertaining to persons carrying out activities subject to licensing, licenses, and to exclusion of the risks related to falsification of licenses.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

6. Licensing register

Commitment Text:

Title: Accountable licensing: Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification

Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, and digitization of the licenses issued. Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification will help further simplify the process of issuing a license and the administration related to types of activities subject to notification, as well as reduce potential corruption risks.

The activities under this commitment are as follows:

1. Studying the international practice (Aug 16 - Oct 16).

2. Drafting the amendments to relevant secondary regulatory legal acts (Sep 16- Nov 16).

3. Developing a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, developing software and creating an electronic website (Sep 16 - Mar 17).

4. Digitalizing all the licenses previously issued by state bodies and including them in the unified electronic register (Dec 16 - Mar 17).

5. Connecting the electronic register to other state electronic registers, for example, to the database of the state register of legal persons (e-register) (Mar 17 - Apr 17).

6. Organizing relevant training courses on the peculiarities of maintaining a unified electronic register for representatives of state bodies issuing licenses (Dec 16 - Mar 17).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia

Supporting institution(s): Staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia

Start date: August 2016 End date: April 2017

Context and Objectives

Currently, the Republic of Armenia has no unified register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification. Activities subject to notification are covered by the Law on Activities Subject to Notification[Note138: RA law on activities subject to notification, 13.11.2015, http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=117286%5D and include activities that do not require licensing but relevant notification to be sent to state bodies (such as production and/or sale of specific products, including wine, beer, veterinary biologics, etc.). The information on the existence or absence of a license/notification or its authenticity with the original is verifiable only through the hard copy documents. The lists of licensed organizations for some areas of economic activities are posted on the respective websites of authorized issuing bodies, but there is no unified format or requirement on public disclosure of the lists. During competitions or other events held by state bodies, the process of verifying an organization’s license or its validity may be carried out more effectively if there is a unified electronic system. In this case, by using the state unified electronic register of licenses, the responsible party would be able to verify the information on the availability of a license and its validity by entering the number and date of the license[Note139: OGP Third National Action Plan of the Republic of Armenia (2016-2018), http://ogp.am/u_files/file/3AP_ENG.docx%5D.

The commitment text does not specify that the unified electronic register will be accessible to the public, thus its relevance to access to information is unclear. If the register were to be public, the commitment could potentially serve as a significant improvement: the organizations applying for a license could follow the conditions under which similar organizations have received licenses, and thus be better prepared, while civic oversight could potentially decrease risks of illegal service provision. However, since the commitment text does not specify that public access will be provided to the register the potential impact related to the usage of it will be minor.

Completion

The first activity under the commitment, analysis of international experience, was conducted in 2016. Further, the Terms of Reference for development of the register have been designed.[Note140: Suren Krmoyan, Mariam Galstyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 25 October 2017] Through these activities, the Ministry of Justice closely collaborated with Harmonious Development NGO, an involved civil society stakeholder.[Note141: Mary Katvalyan (Harmonious Development NGO), interview by IRM researcher, 28 November 2017]

In parallel, draft amendments to relevant legal acts have been prepared and circulated among governmental agencies for review. In particular, an amendment to the law 'On Licensing' introduced the concept of unified electronic registry of licenses, the information it covers, the rules on providing free access and the maximum amount of state fees for access to the information in the registry.[Note142: RA law 'On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia ‘On licensing’' http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=117125 ] The revised amendments were presented to the parliament in July 2017 and adopted on 25 October 2017.[Note143: History of the draft law 'On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia ‘On licensing’, http://www.parliament.am/draft_history.php?id=8898&lang=arm ] The amendments will enter into force on 15 May 2018. According to the amendment to the law 'On Licensing', the electronic registry will contain information on the name and address of the licensed legal entity, or, place of residence and registration address of the natural person, license number and date of issue, the type of activity for which the license was issued, address of business activities, term of validity, and other information as provided by law. According to the amendment, the procedure of provision of information on licenses and validity checking, as well as the list of state agencies which can access the electronic register free of charge, shall be defined by the government. At the same time, the amendment states that information on any license holder stored on the electronic register can be provided online to other individuals and legal entities for a fee but will be free of charge to the license holder itself.[Note144: RA law 'On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia ‘On licensing’' http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=117125%5D The VX-Soft company was contracted to carry out the development of the software for electronic registry. By the time of writing, the company has developed the draft software and tested it in several state agencies. Information on the start and planned completion dates was not provided to the IRM researcher. According to the Ministry of Justice, the responsible agency for this commitment, the launch of the platform is expected by the date when the relevant legal amendments enter into force.[Note145: Suren Krmoyan, Mariam Galstyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 25 October 2017]

Though the commitment was scheduled to be completed in April 2017, it was delayed by the adoption of the legal act and allocation of necessary funding.[Note146: Suren Krmoyan, Mariam Galstyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 25 October 2017]

Next Steps

To make this commitment relevant to open government, the IRM researcher recommends to design measures that provide a higher level of transparency. It is recommended to make the key data on license holders, including the list of license holders for each category of activities with name, address, and date of license validity, accessible free of charge, so that citizens are able to find out the availability and terms of license by searching a company’s or person’s name and address of business activities. Integration of supplementary information available on websites of state agencies, such as eligibility requirements and procedures of obtaining a license in a specific area, and a link to online application and reporting platforms available on http://www.e-gov.am, would be an additional value-added component.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

6. Licensing register

Commitment Text:

Title: Accountable licensing: Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification

Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, and digitization of the licenses issued. Creation of a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification will help further simplify the process of issuing a license and the administration related to types of activities subject to notification, as well as reduce potential corruption risks.

The activities under this commitment are as follows:

1.Studying the international practice (Aug 16 - Oct 16).

2.Drafting the amendments to relevant secondary regulatory legal acts (Sep 16- Nov 16).

3.Developing a state unified electronic register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by state bodies and subject to notification, developing software and creating an electronic website (Sep 16 - Mar 17).

4.Digitalizing all the licenses previously issued by state bodies and including them in the unified electronic register (Dec 16 - Mar 17).

5.Connecting the electronic register to other state electronic registers, for example, to the database of the state register of legal persons (e-register) (Mar 17 - Apr 17).

6.Organizing relevant training courses on the peculiarities of maintaining a unified electronic register for representatives of state bodies issuing licenses (Dec 16 - Mar 17).

Responsible institution: Ministry of Justice of the Republic of Armenia

Supporting institution(s): Staff of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Armenia

Start date: August 2016 End date: April 2017

Commitment Aim

Prior to the time of undertaking the commitment, the Republic of Armenia had no unified register of persons carrying out activities subject to licensing by or notification to state bodies. [Note45: Activities subject to notification are covered by the RA Law “On Activities Subject to Notification” and include activities that do not require licensing but relevant notification to be sent to state bodies (such as production and/or sale of specific products, including wine, beer, veterinary biologics, etc.).] The information on the existence or absence of a license and notification or its authenticity with the original was verifiable only through hard copy documents. The lists of licensed organizations for some areas of economic activities were posted on the respective websites of authorized issuing bodies, but there was no unified format or requirement on public disclosure of the lists.

The commitment specified that due to the state-unified electronic register of licenses, the responsible party would be able to verify the information on the availability of a license and its validity by entering the number and date of the license. [Note46: OGP Third National Action Plan of the Republic of Armenia (2016-2018), http://ogp.am/u_files/file/3AP_ENG.docx%5D However, the commitment did not specify whether the unified electronic register would be made accessible to the public, thus its direct relevance to OGP values was unclear.

Status

Midterm: Limited

In the last quarter of 2016, the Ministry of Justice completed the first activity under the commitment, an analysis of international experience, in partnership with Harmonious Development NGO. Furthermore, the Terms of Reference for development of the register were designed in the first half of 2017. In parallel, draft amendments to relevant legal acts were prepared and circulated in May 2017 among governmental agencies for review. [Note47: Suren Krmoyan, Mariam Galstyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 25 October 2017] In particular, an amendment to RA law “On Licensing” introduced the concept of a unified electronic registry of licenses, the information it would cover, the rules on providing free access, and the maximum amount of state fees for access to the information in the registry. [Note48: RA law 161-N “On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia ‘On licensing’, 25.10.2017, http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=117125 ] On 25 October 2017, parliament adopted the revised amendments, which entered into force on 15 May 2018. According to the amended law “On Licensing,” the electronic registry will contain information on the name and address of the licensed legal entity or place of residence and registration address of the natural person, license number and date of issue, the type of activity for which the license was issued, address of business activities, term of validity, and other information as provided by law.

According to the amendment, the government defines the procedure of provision of information on licenses and validity checking, as well as the list of state agencies which can access the electronic register free of charge. At the same time, the amendment states that information on any license holder stored on the electronic register can be provided online to other individuals and legal entities for a fee but will be free of charge to the license holder itself. [Note49: RA Law 161-N “On making amendments and supplements to the Law of the Republic of Armenia ‘On licensing’, 25.10.2017, http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=117125%5D By November 2017, VX-Soft, the company contracted for the software development, had prepared the draft software and tested it in several state agencies. For more information, see the Armenia IRM Progress Report 2016–2017. [Note50: IRM Armenia Progress Report 2016-2018 (Year 1), 06 Accountability Licensing, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/commitment/06-accountability-licensing ]

End of term: Substantial

VX-Soft tested the licensing register software in most of the state agencies throughout 2018, and conducted trainings for responsible officials, who started filling in the data on licenses available in respective agencies. [Note51: Anna Harutyunyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 4 September 2018] At the time of writing this report (September 2018), the testing is ongoing (with two to three agencies remaining), and the platform itself is not yet available online. According to an interviewed representative of the Ministry of Justice, the main reasons for the delay were the excessive volumes of information and the heavy workload related to the input of the system. [Note52: Anna Harutyunyan (Ministry of Justice), interview by IRM researcher, 4 September 2018]

In August 2018, the government adopted the procedure of provision of information on licenses and validity checking, as well as the list of state agencies which can access the electronic register free of charge. [Note53: RA Government decision 866-N “On the registration of decisions on providing licenses in the electronic register of licenses, automatic provision and publication of the series and number of the license, procedure of providing information and verification of licenses, the list of state agencies using the register free of charge, defining fees for online provision of register information on other persons’, as well as assigning the responsible body for register by RA government”, 02.08.2018, http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=124424 ] The decree will enter into force in December 2018. The procedure of providing information online, attached to this decision, defines that the register will provide the following information free of charge:

1)The name and address of the licensed legal entity, or the name and surname and the residence address of the natural person or private entrepreneur,

2)The type of the activity, for which the license has been provided,

3)Term of validity of the license,

4)The current status of the license.

For any additional information available in the register, users will need to register and pay a fee. [Note54: Procedure on the registration of decisions on providing licenses in the electronic register of licenses, automatic provision and publication of the series and number of the license, procedure of providing information and verification of licenses, Annex to the RA Government decision 866-N, 02.08.2018, http://www.arlis.am/DocumentView.aspx?DocID=124424, article 8-9.]

Did It Open Government?

Access to Information: Did Not Change

As the electronic platform of the licensing register is not available at the time of writing this report, there are no improvements made to access to information. However, based on the information above related on the availability of free information as defined by government decree, it is expected that the online publication of the license register could contribute to major changes in the scope of information disclosed to the public.

Though some agencies have been providing information on licenses in a fragmented manner, a unified register that includes information on all licenses registered in Armenia, along with mechanisms for easy access and searching, could make it possible for the public to check providers of activities subject to license. This would allow them to find out the availability and status of their licenses. In addition, it could help provide public oversight upon the conditions of providing the license by relevant state agencies.

Carried Forward?

At the time of writing this report (September 2018), Armenia’s fourth action plan is not available yet. During consultations of the fourth action plan, this commitment has not been suggested to be carry forward.

For Commitment detail, see Armenia End-Term Report 2016-2018.


Armenia's Commitments

  1. Open Data in Official Declarations

    AM0035, 2018, Asset Disclosure

  2. Government Grant Transparency

    AM0036, 2018, Fiscal Transparency

  3. Beneficial Ownership Register

    AM0037, 2018, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  4. Modernization of Community Website

    AM0038, 2018, E-Government

  5. State Water Cadastre

    AM0039, 2018, E-Government

  6. Land Cadastre

    AM0040, 2018, E-Government

  7. Integrated Social Services

    AM0041, 2018, E-Government

  8. Unified Information System for Management of Education

    AM0042, 2018, Capacity Building

  9. Exploring Medical Assistance Program

    AM0043, 2018, E-Government

  10. Platform for Submitting Petitions

    AM0044, 2018, E-Government

  11. Public Service Dashboard

    AM0045, 2018, E-Government

  12. State Travel Transparency

    AM0027, 2016, E-Government

  13. Accountability for Grants of the Government

    AM0028, 2016, E-Government

  14. Transparency of the State Budget

    AM0029, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  15. "Open Data" in Official Declaration:

    AM0030, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  16. Portal for Community Decisions.

    AM0031, 2016, Capacity Building

  17. Accountability Licensing

    AM0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Accessibility of Integrated Social Services

    AM0033, 2016, E-Government

  19. "One-Stop-Shop" Pilot Project Within Military Registration Offices

    AM0034, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. Digitization and publication of data in the “Republican Geological Fund” SNCO

    AM0016, 2014, Extractive Industries

  21. Ensuring Transparency in Mining

    AM0017, 2014, Extractive Industries

  22. Ensuring Public Awareness About Health Care Financing

    AM0018, 2014, E-Government

  23. Ensuring Transparency of Asset and Income Declarations of the RA High-Ranking Officials

    AM0019, 2014, Asset Disclosure

  24. Online Broadcasting of the State Procurement Appeals Board Sessions

    AM0020, 2014, E-Government

  25. Community Microsurvey Introduction in 10 Communities

    AM0021, 2014, E-Government

  26. Ensuring Open, Transparent, Participatory and Accountable Process of State Policies and Legislative Reforms

    AM0022, 2014, E-Government

  27. Public Awareness on the Lawmaking Activity of State Governance Bodies

    AM0023, 2014, E-Government

  28. Ensuring Transparency of the Election of Governing Boards of the RA General Secondary Education Institutions and of the Annual Budget Planning and Expenses of Ra General Secondary Education Institutions

    AM0024, 2014, Education

  29. Knowledge and Capacity Building of Public Servants in the Freedom of Information and Anticorruption Field

    AM0025, 2014, Capacity Building

  30. Ensuring Transparency of Local Self Government Bodies of Large Communities

    AM0026, 2014, E-Government

  31. Reviewing the Regulatory Normative Legal Acts (Regulatory Guillotine Project)

    AM0001, 2012, Legislation & Regulation

  32. Improving Internal Audit System for the Public Sector

    AM0002, 2012, Audits and Controls

  33. Improving Procurement Procedures

    AM0003, 2012, Capacity Building

  34. Improving Budget Planning and Reporting Systems Through Full Utilization of Program Budgeting

    AM0004, 2012, Audits and Controls

  35. Promoting Transparency and Objectiveness in Tax Administration

    AM0005, 2012, Conflicts of Interest

  36. Fight Against Corruption

    AM0006, 2012, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  37. Introduction of a Unified Payment System (Portal)

    AM0007, 2012, E-Government

  38. State Car Inspection Improvements

    AM0008, 2012, Infrastructure & Transport

  39. Implementation of an Electronic System for Consular Services

    AM0009, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  40. Implementation of Mail-Armenia System

    AM0010, 2012, Citizenship and Immigration

  41. Introduction of e-Statistics System

    AM0011, 2012, E-Government

  42. Introduction of e-Documentation Sharing System in Urban Communities

    AM0012, 2012, E-Government

  43. Ensuring Transparency of Asset Declarations

    AM0013, 2012, Asset Disclosure

  44. Standardization of Offical Websites Content

    AM0014, 2012, E-Government

  45. Improvement of Knowledge and Skills of Public Servants on Access to Information

    AM0015, 2012, Capacity Building