One-stop shop business registration, Croatia
HITRO.hr was created in an effort to simplify the business registration process, similar to the ‘one-stop shop’ approach. HITRO.hr is also an element of a broader project called e-Croatia, which aimed to modernise public services, initiate productivity and create a favourable environment for private investments as well as increase employment. As part of the project, a multifunctional smart card (FINA e-card) has been introduced, intended to simplify and speed up business processes and eliminate unnecessary paperwork. The e-card saves time and money for businesses willing to operate electronically.
One of the overarching aims for Croatia has been to align its legal framework with the European Commission’s requirements through providing transparency, competition and accountability mechanisms (Bejaković et al, 2007). In 2006 the Government of Croatia initialised a project termed HITRO.REZ, intended as the first phase of simplifying the regulatory framework. Through this project a list of unnecessary procedures and permits were identified and reviewed using the guillotine approach. As part of the simplification of the business registration process, HITRO.hr arose, a system similar to the ‘one stop shop’ approach. HITRO.hr is also an element of a broader project called e-Croatia, which was implemented to modernise public services, initiate productivity and create a favourable environment for private investments as well as increase employment.
HITRO.hr is intended to eliminate administrative barriers. The main objective is to provide speedy communication for citizens and businesses with the state administration. The aim is to enable citizens and entrepreneurs to have quicker and simpler access to information and services all in one location, thereby indirectly encouraging formalisation.
HITRO.HR comprises several services: the establishment of Limited Liability Company, e-Regos (Central Registry of Insured Persons), e-Tax, eVAT, e-Pension, e-Craft, e-Cadastre, and e-Corner. The majority of the services mentioned require authorisation for accessing the service and authentication of forms by applying smart cards with a digital certificate issued by the Financial Agency.
As part of this project, a multifunctional smart card (FINA e-card) has been introduced and is intended for electronic business, simplifying and speeding up business processes and eliminating unnecessary paperwork. The e-card therefore saves time and money for businesses willing to operate electronically.
Lessons and conclusions
Achievement of objectives
The usual process of establishing a firm takes more than 40 days; the use of HITRO.hr reduces this to three to five days. Bejaković et al (2007) state that according to government data more than 10,000 persons have visited the website in the first year, where 8,500 citizens used it to establish their firms or business activities and 200 firms owned by foreign investors were established. HITRO.hr received the Good Practice label 2009 at the European eGovernment Awards, exemplifying its success.
Obstacles and problems
Although there is generally a positive attitude towards business processes being carried out electronically, its potentials have not been utilised fully. Klicek and Vukovac (2007) describe the problems associated with not providing enough information about such services in Croatia. They state that the habit of doing business in a traditional way and the perception that a company doesn’t have sufficient technical conditions for e-business are the main obstacles that the HITRO.hr project has encountered.
The Ministry of Economy, Labour and Entrepreneurship and the Croatian Chamber of Economy have overcome the above issues by initiating a campaign to ensure a broader acceptance of electronic business and promoting the services of HITRO.hr.
Already recognised as a model of good practice, this initiative could, with some adaptation, be transferred to other countries seeking to reduce the bureaucratic burden involved in setting up an enterprise.
Croatian Ministry of Administration (Republika Hrvatska, Ministarstvo Uprave)
Klicek, B and Vukovac, D. P. (2007), ‘Information society and e-government developments in Croatia, Informatica, Vol. 31, pp. 367–372.
Bejaković, P., Šućur, Z. and Zrinscak, S., (2007), The social dimension in selected candidate countries in the Balkans: Country report on Croatia (December 14), ENEPRI Research Report No. 39. Available at: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2027419