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April 15, 2012, Sunday

Reducing bureaucracy

Even the dead can’t avoid bureaucracy. We are living in a county with so much bureaucracy that it requires more than enough documents just to be buried. Many foreign clients ask me why the bureaucratic procedure takes so much time in Turkey.

Sometimes even simple transactions can take a great deal of time and effort. We have dealings with government agencies in numerous fields of life: when taking the university exam, starting a new job, obtaining a driver’s license, during military service (you can’t imagine), in courthouses (needless to say), in the marriage process (some even decide not to get married), registering our children for school and many other stages of life. All are subject to heavy bureaucracy.

Many people contacting public authorities also complain of protracted correspondence with the bureaucracy, especially in countries not successful in streamlining official proceedings for its citizens, like Turkey and the Iron Curtain countries. Bureaucracy causes significant time wastage, a large workforce and unnecessary expenditure.

A couple of years ago, the government started to simplify investment procedures, and this has really helped foreign investors. A new attempt has been launched on the largest scale thus far to simplify official transactions, applications and procedures that affect daily life. Fortunately, some constructive amendments to laws have recently been made. In the past few days, new regulations concerning various ministries have been published in the Official Gazette on reducing bureaucracy and simplifying official transactions.

These regulations are expected to be helpful for citizens in many fields. The regulations cover a wide range of subjects. Many transactions have been simplified, and correspondence between institutions has been reduced for registering and obtaining the necessary permits and business operating licenses in regards to retirement homes, kindergartens, mining, pets, food preparation and seed growing. You can now get an appointment for a residence permit online.

For example, for many transactions at public institutions it was obligatory to submit a certified copy of an ID card. With the new regulations, it will be satisfactory to just submit an ID number. In the same way, there will be some more convenient measures when starting up a new business.

Turkey has experienced huge economic development in recent years. At the same time, there should be some measures to make processes more convenient and encourage entrepreneurs. This convenience should not be only in the form of incentives and tax reductions. They are important, but official transactions should also be fast to keep economic development going.

Consider the amendments to mining regulations. Before, it was a necessity to submit documents to show the tax office, number and city of the company on the application for the license. With the amendments to the regulations, it will be enough just to attest to this information.

I hope the government will continue to work on legislating to reduce bureaucracy, thereby making official transactions for citizens easier and encouraging entrepreneurs to start businesses.

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