The bribe for being registered as a sole proprietor in Turkmenistan reaches $5,000

Over the past few months the authorities of Turkmenistan have repeatedly claimed that efforts should be undertaken to create jobs for the country's residents, especially youth. For this purpose staterun or public sector organizations should be set up or extended, or the development of private entrepreneurship needs to be facilitated.

The authorities lack the necessary resources for the first scenario, which is evidenced with the staff downsizing. An entrepreneur told correspondents of Chronicles of Turkmenistan that the required conditions are not yet available.

According to the interlocutor of Chronicles of Turkmenistan, it takes up to six months to register a business as sole proprietorship.

For many years the Ministry of Economy and Finance, which is responsible for registering private entrepreneurs, has been unable or reluctant to set up a onestopshop, which is quite common in many countries where a new business is registered within 3 days. It usually takes 5 to 6 months to check the applicant's documents and collect the data. There is no computerbased database and corruption is rampant like everywhere across the country. The registration fee for sole proprietorship ranges from $2.000 to $5.000, whereas the minimum fee for a joint venture is $50.000 and higher, the entrepreneur said.

$50.000 is a registration charge for TurkmenRussian joint ventures. However, there are almost none. Russian experts claim that under favourable conditions, Turkmenistan might need at least 20 years to reach the economy level of the late Soviet period. With these prospects, there are few businesses willing to do business with Turkmen entrepreneurs. The fact that Russian resumed gas supplies from Turkmenistan is a political rather than an economic decision, the entrepreneur is convinced.

According to him, the amount of a bribe for registering a joint venture with Chinese businesses in the Ministry of Economy and Finance is considerably higher and amounts to a minimum of $100.000 and above. Interestingly enough, Many Chinese business are willing to accept such terms, but the sides agree to share the registration fee, which means that the Turkmen side needs to have about 50% of the amount. Under presentday circumstances and with restricted foreign currency conversion only those companies, which have no problems with the currency conversion and hence, which are close to the authorities, can afford this, the businessman concludes.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan