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Doing Business: Pop-up Licencing Stalls

2017-10-18 11:53:23

Outside a fast-food restaurant selling fried chicken at a shopping mall in Jakarta, a team from the investment board is giving advice on how to obtain business licences. It is one of several pop-up stalls that the board’s one-stop service, or PTSP, is opening in malls across the capital to get closer to its customers.

“People don’t understand what sort of licenses they need,” says Fitra Mariyah, a PTSP worker, as she hands out leaflets to passers-by inside Plaza Atrium mall. “We just want to help them.”

Red-tape is one of the biggest problems facing businesses in Indonesia. And with the economy growing at only around 5% a year, below what the government wants, business expansion is critical. It is also one reason for Indonesia’s large shadow economy, comprising millions of small informal firms that pay no taxes.

The situation has improved under President Joko Widodo. Among the reforms was a one-stop service for licences at the investment board, or BKPM. Instead of visiting multiple ministries, businesses may now apply for many licences in one place.

This month Jokowi is set to open Jakarta’s first “Public Service Mall” to provide customers with a more joined-up experience by gathering even more agencies in a single building which also houses shops.

Firda, a 25-year-old shopper at Plaza Atrium who wants to set up a small restaurant selling traditional kue cakes, supports the idea of PTSP stalls in malls.

Instead of visiting gloomy government offices, she had the opportunity to ask more about the steps required to set up a business while doing her shopping, “It’s been very helpful,” she says.

Indonesia was one of the 10 most-improved economies in the World Bank’s 2017 doing business survey, rising 15 places, but it still comes only 106th out of 190 economies.

AIPEG is advising Jakarta’s one-stop service on how to simplify procedures for registering a business and getting a building permit, including moving to an online system.  AIPEG is also connecting up computer networks to ensure that licence applications flow seamlessly between PTSP’s back-office staff and other government agencies.