Enhancing Suriname’s Business Permit Process through Digital Transformation

In the world of entrepreneurship, time is money. Yet, for many aspiring business owners in Suriname, time seems to slip away as they navigate the cumbersome labyrinth of permit applications. Some entrepreneurs have to wait up to a year just to secure a permit, and to compound matters, the process lacks transparency. However, amidst these challenges, there is hope. The Ministry of Economic Affairs, Entrepreneurship, and Technological Innovation (EZ) is poised for a change.

During a recent United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Caribbean Business Enabling Environment Reform Activity (CBEE-R) sponsored stakeholder’s workshop at the Marriot hotel, Minister Kuldipsingh unveiled a promising strategy to alleviate the permit predicament: a digital transformation of business licensing. The workshop highlighted the advantages of integrating business licensing functions from various agencies, like the Ministry of Public Works, into a centralized automated platform at the Ministry of Economic Development. By leveraging digital transformation and innovative solutions, integration will be streamlined and will expedite government processes, significantly shortening the time and cost for businesses to obtain business licenses, minimizing corruptive behavior, and thus facilitating a more conducive environment for business growth and development in Suriname.

Minister Kuldipsingh announced that the process is already underway, with cutting-edge software currently undergoing rigorous testing. The initiative received a significant boost with the allocation of US$180,000 from the Inter-American Development Bank, supplemented by support from the International Development Group LLC, a key partner of the United States Agency for International Development for Caribbean Business Enabling Environment Reform. Mr. Rafiq Ilahi, Director of Technological Innovation, emphasized that this collaboration extends beyond financial backing, with expert consultants available to offer invaluable guidance throughout the implementation process.

Mr. Ilahi assures that all agencies are prepared to embark on digital transformation, signaling progress for Suriname’s business environment. Through extensive dialogue with stakeholders about the adaption of the project, the initiative will have significant added value for not only entrepreneurs, but the stakeholders as well, as the processing of the permits will be more effective, and the information will become more transparent.

Minister of Economic Affairs Rishma Kuldipsingh with the United States Ambassador Robert Faucher next to her. In the background, employees of the ministry. On the left, Director of Technological Innovation, Rafiq Ilahi.
The Ambassador of the United States, Robert Faucher, emphasized that companies are constantly in need of innovation. To this end, the necessary structures and capacities must be continuously strengthened. US Ambassador Faucher underlined that innovation and efficiency have an impact on economic growth; and moreover, this can also stimulate investment and contribute to the ease of doing business.