Yangyel Lhaden

Almost a year after the launch of the Single Window Company Registry System, 86 companies have registered with the company registry division under the Ministry of Economic Affairs ( MoEA).

The system, an online platform is used to register new companies, was launched on May 14 last year. 

MoEA launched the system to ease doing business in the country. On average, the division used to register about 50 companies a year which increased to 86 after the launch of the system. The newly registered companies include 24 manufacturing companies, two mining companies, 17 construction companies, and 43 services companies. 

Bhutan’s rank in ease of doing business has been dropping over the years. In 2018, Bhutan ranked 73 out of 190 countries, which further fell to 81 in 2019, and dropped further down to 89 in 2020. 

With the new system, the turnaround time to register for a company is reduced. According to the World Bank’s report, to start a business formally, as a Limited Liability Company, requires 12 days and eight procedures.

Registrar of Companies, Karma Yeshey, said before the launch of the system to register a company was a rigid process. “The system is simple and many procedures have been embedded in the system.” 

To register a new company, the system has integrated related government agencies, which has reduced the procedures to four. 

The system also has pre-made format Articles of Incorporation (AI) which is a by-law for companies. Karma Yeshey said people had to pay more than Nu 50,000 to make an AI.  “To encourage people to be entrepreneurs the registration has to be easy.”

Charges to register new companies are: Nu 5,000 for private limited companies, whose shareholders are less than 50, and Nu 8,000 for public limited companies, whose shareholders are more than 50. 

Karma Yeshey said with the system a company could be registered between one and three days. “If the document had issues it took longer otherwise a company can be registered within 20 minutes.”

He said the system proved useful during the pandemic. An official with the division is tasked to check the system every day for new registrations.

The division has three employees who have to register and regulate companies which was challenging, an official said. “Technology is the answer for a compact civil service for efficient service delivery.”

The system is going to be further upgraded with a design change and security measures enhanced in June, this year. The upgrade will also integrate message notification on phone, and licence will be integrated. Tax details would be integrated further in the next update. 

Karma Yeshey said the system would be upgraded accordingly with feedback and availability of budget. “Currently, the notifications from the system is sent through email.”

After the launch of the system, the existing companies sent their statutory documents through email and the walk-in registration of companies was stopped.