SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

Implementation of the Small Business Act for Europe

image of SME Policy Index: The Mediterranean Middle East and North Africa 2014

This report assesses the elaboration and implementation of SME policy in eight Middle East and North African economies of the southern Mediterranean shore. The assessment is structured according to the ten policy principles covered in the Small Business Act for Europe (the SBA). One of the main findings is that over the last five years there has been progress in SME policy elaboration and implementation in spite of the political and economic turmoil. However, that progress has been modest, incremental and uneven across economies and dimensions. Political and economic stability, as well as institutional development, had a major impact on policy performance.

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Operational environment for business creation

SBA principle: Make public administration responsive to SME needs

This chapter assesses policy areas supporting the operational environment for business creation, in particular the extent to which public administrations have developed instruments to simplify regulations and reduce costs and procedures for starting a business.

The first part of the chapter addresses the company registration process, taking into account the number of days, administrative steps and costs for issuing the company registration certificate and completing the overall registration process. The second part focuses on interaction with online government services (e-government): whether it is possible to declare tax and social security returns online, if enterprise statistics can be reported online and if databases of different public bodies are connected.

In general, since 2008, MED economies have progressed in this area due to a reduction of company registration costs, the introduction of a single identification number in dealing with the public administration, the introduction or expansion of a one-stop-shop network, or better compliance processes. Moving forward, MED economies could increase their initiatives to establish one-stop shops and establish the functions of existing ones; they could also transform company registration bodies into government agencies providing a wide range of services (such as managing other registries) to the business community and public administration. Measures that could be introduced are the “silence is consent” principle, online registration and notification facilities, and the simplification of the registration process for the most common form of business. Company registration databases could be used as systems to collect information on SMEs and entrepreneurs.

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