June 5, 2018

One Window System: Entrepreneurs become tax exempt in Yemen

The ongoing conflict in Yemen continues to deepen the misery of its people. Basic needs and human rights are not being met. Yet, despite the situation, young Yemeni people continue to be motivated and entrepreneurial. They are the unarmed warriors striving for economic empowerment and thus, they are providing jobs, supporting local economies and communities, which – we believe – will contribute to eventual stability.

A workshop with all the right people

However, barriers created by war limit their chances of succeeding. We recently held a workshop, in collaboration with Yemeni Ministry of Industry and Trade, for 120 representatives of the private and public sector, financial institutions, as well as local and international organisations involved in promoting business and entrepreneurship in the country. By gathering all the stakeholders under one roof, we aimed to improve the overall performance of Yemen’s entrepreneurs by focusing on solutions to better serve the start-up community.

Abdulelah Shaiban, the Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, who stands passionately for the economic recovery of his country, said:

“This project is one of the most important activities that should be interesting for all stakeholders present. The ministry is putting great efforts into making this project a success, despite the complexity of legal procedures”.

As private and public sector representatives were able to engage in an open dialogue for promoting the Yemeni workforce, practical solutions were proposed during the discussions. The main solution discussed was the creation of a new regulation for issuing tax-free business registration certificates for entrepreneurs (who have less than $3000 startup capital), lasting two years and purchasable with a small sum of $15.

Excitingly, the meeting attracted a lot of media attention from the local press and TV stations, which has helped some of the solutions proposed in the workshop to become a reality!

One window system

SPARK has since implemented a “one window system” at the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which ensures that representatives from each governement office involved in the proccess of starting a busiess will be present in the same location. This ability for entrepreneurs to issue all formal papers in one place aims to promote commerce and growth for the ambitious start-ups of Yemen. We have trained staff at the ministry in using the system so that the process can be speedy and effective for entrepreneurs and the government can now track the progress of Yemeni entrepreneurs.

Pilot projects, such as the “one window system”, enable us to understand the strengths and limitations of programmes. Thus the “one window system” is first being implemented in the in the Sana’a region and, if successful, could serve as a model for other governorates of the country. At SPARK, we believe that engaging in these small but crucial steps can encourage the economic prosperity and social stability of Yemen amid the challenges that the war has created.