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Serbia

ePaper (RS0036)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Public Policy Secretariat

Support Institution(s): Administration Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade, Tourism and Telecommunicaions, Ministry of Public Administration and Local Self-Government Civil sector organisations, private sector, working groups Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia All interested economic operators

Policy Areas

Democratizing Decision-Making, E-Government, Legislation, Regulatory Governance

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia Transitional Results Report 2018-2020, Serbia Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Simplification of administrative procedures and regulations –
ePAPER
Ongoing - Q1 2021
Lead implementing agency Public Policy Secretariat
Description of Commitment
Problem addressed by the
commitment
There is no integrated database of currently applicable
administrative requirements (procedures) in the existing public
administration system. For this reason, economic operators and
citizens wishing to start their own business often do not know
where to ask or how to find information about administrative
procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity
and costs of services provided by state administration bodies.
This often leads to unjustified additional expenses and waste of
time for public service users. In 2016, administrative expenses
of businesses equalled 3.46% of GDP. Once this commitment is
implemented, administrative expenses of businesses should be
cut by 15-20%, to 3% of GDP. A comprehensive and up-to-date
electronic database of administrative procedures and
requirements would give citizens and businesses ready access to
necessary information, thereby avoiding the incurrence of these
additional expenses.
Main objective A single public register is an objective pursued by the project
implemented by the Government of the Republic of Serbia
entitled ePAPER. The single public register of administrative
procedures is being established in parallel with a process of
simplification of administrative procedures and soliciting
initiatives from businesses and citizens for changes and
improvements to the existing processes. This public register will
give citizens and businesses access to all administrative
requirements and procedures that need to be achieved and met
in order to exercise a right or obligation. The register will
39
provide all necessary information on the selected procedures –
the required documentation, the timeframe and the admissibility
of appeals, including all expenses in the form of fees, surcharges
etc. Simplification of the procedure, slashing of unnecessary
levies and digitalisation of the most common procedures will
reduce the business expenses of economic operators in the
pursuit of their business activity. This will increase
predictability and transparency of business. Communication
with economic operators is key for compliance with this
commitment, with recommendations and proposals for
simplification, modification or improvement of administrative
procedures, because it will be the best way to identify
procedures which lead to wasteful spending of resources of
economic operators, i.e. those that create the heaviest
administrative burden in terms of frequency, complexity or
expenses.
How will this commitment
contribute to problem solving?
The register will be a publicly available database of all
administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a
business activity imposed by public administration bodies and
organisations. Economic operators and citizens will have a onestop-shop where they will obtain all necessary information
relevant for a specific procedure, including: whether there is an
application form (to download); to whom the application should
be submitted and if it may be submitted electronically; what
other documentation is required, in what form and whether there
are steps to be completed before that (certification by a notary
public etc.); what are the financial expenses (fees, surcharges
etc.); the timeframe for deciding on applications; the validity
term of the issued document and the possibility of appeal.
Such publicly available information will help economic
operators save resources, leaving them more time to focus on
the pursuit of their business activity. Simplification of
procedures will reduce administrative burden by eliminating
obstacles to simple compliance of economic operators with their
obligations, which will make the business climate in the
Republic of Serbia more favourable and attractive to prospective
investors.
Implementation of this commitment began in June 2016, when
the Working Group held its first meeting. The following results
have been achieved to date: 84 authorities and organisations
actively participated in the inventorying of administrative
procedures; 35 trainings have been held for the representatives
of all authorities which participated in the inventorying of
administrative procedures, with 16 trainers of civil servants and
40
479 civil servants from 107 authorities and organisations
trained; 2500 procedures have been inventoried in a uniform
manner; and an analysis has been made of almost all procedures
(99%), as a first step in the process of issuing recommendations
for simplification of administrative procedures.
In addition, a set of documents comprising the Methodology for
Simplification of Administrative Procedures has been prepared
(Guidance for Analysis of Simplification of Administrative
Procedures and Methodology for Calculating Administrative
Expenses). The first 254 recommendations for simplification of
procedures have been made. Five recommendations have been
accepted, which marks the beginning of implementation; three
of those recommendations will be fully implemented as of 1
January 2019, resulting in the abolishment of three procedures
and the saving of 3.6 billion dinars in expenses for the economy
in 2019.
The Draft Law on the Single Public Register is currently being
developed. It will constitute the legal basis for the establishment
of the Register and will set forth the obligations and duties of
state authorities in terms of data entry and updating.
A form for inventorying administrative requirements and other
conditions for the pursuit of business activity has been prepared
and trainings have been held for the civil servants who will be
inventorying these requirements.
The portal http://www.epapir.rsjp.gov.rs has been launched to solicit
initiatives for improvement and modification of existing
procedures and to ensure the necessary cooperation with
businesses.
The way in which this commitment
is relevant to further advancing
OGP values
Compliance with this commitment will improve the quality of
public services and improve the reputation of public
administration, facilitate communication between authorities
and enable data exchange. The Register will contribute to
greater transparency in the actions of public administration,
bring about to fewer opportunities for abuse and corruption and
facilitate day-to-day operations of economic operators.
Additional information Funding for the implementation of this commitment has been
secured from the following projects:
• Support to improvement of the business environment, an
EU Project (IPA 2013) worth EUR 2,301,120.
• Improving the Business Environment, a project of the UK
Good Governance Fund implemented by the International
41
Financial Corporation (IFC), worth EUR 4,072,085.
• IPA project – Implementation of the Services Directive
2006/123/EC and establishment of a single electronic
contact point. The total approved amount is EUR 2,000,000
and the tendering procedure is underway.
• GIZ project Support to Public Administration Reform in
Serbia, worth EUR 200,000
This commitment is planned in the Action Plan on
Implementation of the Strategy for Regulatory Reform and
Improvement of the Public Policy Management System 2016-
2017
Activity with a verifiable
deliverable and completion date
Start Date: End Date:
1. The Bill on Single Public
Register adopted
May 2017 – forming of the
Working Group on preparation
of the Draft Law
Q1 2020
2. Inventory of administrative
procedures at autonomous
province level completed
Q1 2019 Q4 2019
3. Soliciting of initiatives from
businesses and citizens for
modification, improvement or
abolishment of procedures or
ineffective regulations
Q2 2018
(May 2018)
Implemented continually
4. 500 most frequent and most
expensive procedures simplified
or abolished
Q1 2018 Q1 2021
5. 100 procedures for the issuing
of licences, permits etc.
digitalised
Q1 2018
(February 2018)
Q1 2021
6. Single public register of
administrative procedures and
other conditions for the pursuit
of business activity established
Q1 2016
(March 2016)
Q1 2021
Contact information
Name of a responsible person in the
implementing agency
Ninoslav Kekić
Title, Department Acting Assistant Director, Sector for Quality Assurance of
42
Public Policies
Email and phone number Ninoslav Kekić, 333 4203
Other
actors
involved Administration
Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Trade,
Tourism and Telecommunicaions, Ministry of Public
Administration and Local Self-Government
Civil sector
organisations, private
sector, working groups
Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Serbia
All interested economic operators

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. ePAPER

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

Title: Simplification of administrative procedures and regulations – ePAPER

A single public register is an objective pursued by the project implemented by the Government of the Republic of Serbia entitled ePAPER. The single public register of administrative procedures is being established in parallel with a process of simplification of administrative procedures and soliciting initiatives from businesses and citizens for changes and improvements to the existing processes. This public register will give citizens and businesses access to all administrative requirements and procedures that need to be achieved and met in order to exercise a right or obligation. The register will provide all necessary information on the selected procedures – the required documentation, the timeframe and the admissibility of appeals, including all expenses in the form of fees, surcharges etc. Simplification of the procedure, slashing of unnecessary levies and digitalisation of the most common procedures will reduce the business expenses of economic operators in the pursuit of their business activity. This will increase predictability and transparency of business. Communication with economic operators is key for compliance with this commitment, with recommendations and proposals for simplification, modification or improvement of administrative procedures, because it will be the best way to identify procedures which lead to wasteful spending of resources of economic operators, i.e. those that create the heaviest administrative burden in terms of frequency, complexity or expenses.

  1. The Bill on Single Public Register adopted.
  2. Inventory of administrative procedures at autonomous province level completed
  3. Soliciting of initiatives from businesses and citizens for modification, improvement or abolishment of procedures or ineffective regulations
  4. 500 most frequent and most expensive procedures simplified or abolished
  5. 100 procedures for the issuing of licences, permits etc. digitalized
  6. Single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for the pursuit of business activity established

For full commitment text, please refer to the National Action Plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Serbia_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf

Start Date: Ongoing

End Date: Q1 2021

Context and Objectives

Users of public services face significant administrative hurdles owing to complicated and expensive procedures, many of which are still paper-based or redundant. [121] To illustrate, change of ownership of a personal vehicle in Serbia requires five days, eight different forms to be filled out, and eight physical visits to four different institutions, compared with Germany where the procedure is done in a single day using one form. [122] Entrepreneurs and others in the business community have complained about the costs of bureaucracy, [123] and in 2019, Serbia dropped from 43th to 48th place in the World Bank’s “Doing Business” ranking. [124]

The objective of the commitment is to reduce the administrative costs for businesses by 15%–20%, in other words, from 3.26% to 3% of GDP. To achieve this goal, the Public Policy Secretariat (PPS) committed to simplifying overly complicated procedures, cutting the red tape, digitizing procedures that can be done fully online, and creating a central public register of administrative procedures. [125] The purpose of the register will be to provide complete and up-to-date information on business-related administrative procedures on both the national and provincial levels (such as the required steps, responsible institutions, legal grounds, necessary forms, and other details). As such, the commitment is relevant for the OGP values of access to information and technology and innovation for transparency and accountability.

The government carried forward this commitment from the previous action plan because it was incomplete at the end of term. Following the inventory of ca. 2,500 state-level administrative procedures and the launch of online portal to collect inputs from businesses on administrative simplification, three procedures were abolished. The administration has yet to draft the law governing the register, to make an inventory of provincial-level procedures, and to reach the goals of launching the register, simplifying/cutting 500, and digitizing the 100 most frequent and most expensive procedures.

If fully implemented as designed, the commitment would mitigate the status quo burdens that businesses face, reducing the time and cost of pursuing business activities. A representative of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce thought the project would have significant benefits for Serbian entrepreneurs. [126] With electronic data exchange among institutions, for instance, business entities would no longer need to provide the same document that they have already submitted to another public body, [127] and the register is also expected to enable online submission of requests due to the compatibility with the public services eGovernment Portal. [128] One weakness in the commitment is that the register lacks local administrative procedures, which towns and municipalities regulate independently. Though there have been independent efforts to establish local digital registers through a one-time project run by the Center for Good Governance “Optimus” and Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities, [129] the PPS stated that it had insufficient capacities for including local procedures in the single register of this commitment, as doing so requires at least eight months just for human resources preparation alone. [130]

Next steps

The IRM researchers recommend the following activities to expand the existing scope of commitment:

  • Because the proposed activities are predominantly oriented towards the business sector, especially small and medium enterprises (SMEs), [131] the benefits for citizens are less articulated. To go further, experts advocate for the same effort toward simplifying the procedures regular citizens face, such as registering a car, or the automatic update of personal information across the government information systems. [132]
  • Consider building upon the practices from the project “Improving the business environment at the local level through regulatory reform” by Optimus and Standing Conference of Towns and Municipalities.
  • The PPS should include a wide range of stakeholders in drafting of the law on the single register of administrative procedures, including civil society organizations.
[121] SIGMA Monitoring Report, Serbia 2017, available at http://www.sigmaweb.org/publications/Monitoring-Report-2017-Serbia.pdf
[122] MPALSG press release, “Svi uspesi Ministarstva državne uprave i lokalne samouprave u prvih godinu dana rada Vlade,” available at http://mduls.gov.rs/saopstenja/svi-uspesi-ministarstva-drzavne-uprave-i-lokalne-samouprave-u-prvih-godinu-dana-vlade-srbije/?script=lat;
[123] Optimus, “Elektronski registar administrativnih postupaka i propisa,” http://www.optimus.org.rs/onamaadministrativni-postupci.php.
[125] This commitment has been carried forward from the previous action plan as the activities had not been completed within one cycle. The government is realizing this plan through the “ePaper” project led by the Public Policy Secretariat in partnership with the Ministry of Economy and the Office for Information Technologies and eGovernment. As the project is run outside the scope of OGP, with its deadlines and resources, the end date falls outside of the action plan’s time framework – the first quarter of 2021.
[126] Representative of the Serbian Chamber of Commerce, interviewed by IRM Researcher, 21 February 2019.
[127] Politika daily, “Poslovanje iz fotelje postaje stvarnost,” http://www.politika.rs/sr/clanak/404018/Poslovanje-iz-fotelje-postaje-stvarnost
[128] PPS representatives, interviewed by IRM Researcher, 7 February 2019.
[129] See examples of local registers of administrative procedures: http://www.eregistar.gradleskovac.org/
[130] PPS Representative, interviewed by IRM researcher, 7 February 2019
[131] Politika daily, “Poslovanje iz fotelje postaje stvarnost,” http://www.politika.rs/sr/clanak/404018/Poslovanje-iz-fotelje-postaje-stvarnost

IRM End of Term Status Summary

9. ePaper

Aim of the commitment

Long and complicated administrative procedures hamper business activities in Serbia, often with vague requirements, which waste time and increase costs for businesses. The commitment, carried forward from the 2016–2018 action plan, thus intended to mitigate the burdens that businesses face by reducing time and fees. [12] The action would simplify overly complicated procedures, digitalize them, cut red tape, and create a central public register of administrative procedures to enable access to complete and update information. [13]

Did it open government?

Major

The Law on the Register of Administrative Procedures had not yet been adopted at the time of writing of this report (the draft bill was open to public consultation until 9 December 2020). [14] The register of administrative procedures for businesses is developed and expected to be published in Spring 2021. [15]

In any case, the efforts of the Public Policy Secretariat (PPS) together with business representatives, optimized administrative procedures for businesses in Serbia. Out of 2,600 procedures for businesses at the national and provincial level that were examined, 4 have been abolished, 133 simplified, and 27 procedures can be fully done online. [16] For example, the process for workers abroad getting a job in Serbia has been reduced from 4 procedures to just 1 application form, which is processed in half the time than it was previously. [17] Another example is the process of claiming tax refunds, which is done online, and records are automatically pulled from government databases rather than individuals having to provide copies of tax statements. The government has also claimed that citizens now collectively save over 1.7 million hours of queuing for a specific procedure that can be conducted online rather than requested in person in police stations. [18] Other newly digitized procedures also include those related to plant protection and tobacco products. [19]

The work will continue in the years to come as 389 additional procedures continue being simplified. [20] The PPS stated that the inclusion of citizen-related procedures is also underway and that more work will be done in the next year. [21] Nevertheless, the results fall short of the ambition of the action plan to simplify or abolish 500 procedures and digitalize 100 procedures.

Publishing new information on the eGovernment Portal for 27 digitized procedures increased transparency of service provision for businesses, while administrative simplification achieved a €32 million yearly cost-saving for businesses, according to the PPS. [22] New information on the portal includes the responsible institution and legal basis for procedures, purpose and description of procedures, necessary documents, fees, deadlines, and appeals. [23] Part of the success lies in engaging with the business community as partners in the project and collecting their opinions and initiatives for change. [24] A PPS representative believes that Serbia is today an example of a good practice in providing digital services, as a result of this project. [25] A civil society representative said that implementation increased transparency and predictability about how procedures should be carried out, making them more efficient and reducing costs for business. They felt the ongoing optimization of procedures however is making slow progress due to limited capacities of individual administrative bodies. [26]

The early results of implementation of this commitment demonstrate the potential for even greater impact as services continue to be digitized and service information is proactively made available. The implementation of the commitment at this stage demonstrates a major step forward in government openness both in the kind of information about services that is being made public, as well as the collaborative approach with businesses to identify where to make improvements to procedures.

[12] Serbia Design Report 2018-2020, op. cit., p. 43
[13] For example, the required steps, responsible institutions, legal grounds, necessary forms, and other details.
[14] PPS, “Javna rasprava o Nacrtu zakona o registru administrativnih postupaka”, RSJP.GOV.RS, 20 November 2020, https://rsjp.gov.rs/cir/vesti-cir/javna-rasprava-o-nacrtu-zakona-o-registru-administrativnih-postupaka/. (retrieved in November 2020)
[15] PPS representative, meeting minutes of the first Special Inter-Ministerial Working group 2020-2022 meeting, 19 May 2020, available at http://mduls.gov.rs/uprava-po-meri-svih-nas/strateska-dokumenta/. (retrieved in November 2020)
[16] Public Policy Secretariat Representative, responses provided to IRM researcher on 30 November 2020.
[17] The single application form is shared between the different ministries so they can interact and process the application simultaneously. Previously the four procedures took 45 days to complete, whereas the new process can be carried out in 20 days. It is now much easier for employers to recruit workers from abroad without their needing to be in Serbia up to 90 days beforehand.
[18] Government of Serbia, Service of issuing Certificates of (non) punishment on the eGovernment Portal, 3 June 2019. https://euprava.gov.rs/uverenje-o-ne-kaznjavanju
[19] According to the PPS representative, 22 procedures relate to the plant protection procedures and include entry in the register of distributors and importers of plant nutrition products, recognition of registration of plant protection products, entry in the register of producers of seeds, seedlings, mycelium of edible and medicinal mushrooms, entry in the register of plant nutritionists and soil improvers, while four relate to the tobacco products. Responses received on 30 November 2020. See eGovernment portal, section “Businesses”, available at: https://euprava.gov.rs/
[20] Public Policy Secretariat Representative, responses provided to IRM researcher on 30 November 2020.
[21] PPS representative, fourth meeting of the special inter-ministerial working group for developing the 2020–2022 action plan, 18 November 2020;
[22] “Digitized the first 27 procedures for obtaining licenses, permits and approvals for the economy” https://rsjp.gov.rs/cir/vesti-cir/дигитализовано-првих-27-поступака-за-до/ and according to PPS representative, “Government After Shock” conference, 17 November 2020.
[23] See, for example, information about submitting a request for confirmation that the producer or importer of tobacco products reported to the Tobacco Administration the retail prices of tobacco products, available at the eGovernment Portal: https://euprava.gov.rs/usluge/6282
[25] Ibid.
[26] Response received from representative of a non-governmental association of organizations, which deals with doing business-related topics, on 2 February 2021

Commitments

Open Government Partnership