Protection of entrepreneurs’ interests
Every state inspection implemented since 1 May 2011 shall be entered in the registry, in accordance with the procedure approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 15 February 2011 ‘On approval of the “Provisions on the form and procedure of maintaining a single information registry of inspections performed in the area of entrepreneurship.”’ Moreover, necessary capabilities will be introduced to monitor the frequency of inspections for each specific issue to prevent cases of overlapping inspections. Entrepreneurs shall be also informed about the planned inspections in advance and, within 5 working days, receive information on the results of the inspection conducted. On the other hand, the state bodies will ensure submission of quarterly reports on inspections and checks in the area of entrepreneurship as well as information entered in the register to the President of the republic of Azerbaijan and the Cabinet of Ministers.
To increase the efficiency of record keeping of conducted inspections of entrepreneurs, the Cabinet of Ministers adopted a Resolution No 196 of 13 December 2002 to apprive the “Provision on the Record book for supervision measures.” In accordance with this document, any inspection of entrepreneurs shall commence by making appropriate entry in the Record book for supervision measures. On completion of the inspection, appropriate information shall be entered in the Record book again. In accordance with amendments to the “Provision on the Record book for supervision measures” and the Decision No 97 of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan of 16 June 2011, any inspection in the area of entrepreneurship shall commence by proper registration in the Integrated Information Registry of Inspections in the field of entrepreneurship (www.yoxlama.gov.az). To carry out an inspection, a representative of the regulatory body should present the entrepreneur with a registration certificate from the Integrated Information Registry of Inspections conducted in the field of entrepreneurship. Also, the Record book for supervision measures requires proper registration of the “code of inspection regarding entrepreneurs in the Integrated Information Registry.”
Multiple laws have been adopted to improve the legal framework in the field of entrepreneurship. One of such laws was adopted on 2 July 2013 to encourage entrepreneursip. This is the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On regulation of the inspections conducted in the field of entrepreneurship and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs.”
The Law encompasses a series of issues such as the purpose and underlying principles of inspections carried out in the field of entrepreneurship, regulations on their organization and conduct, the rights and obligations of regulatory bodies and their representatives, and issues pertaining to the protection of entrepreneurs’ rights and interests. The main purpose of the Law is to establish unified rules of conducting inspections in the field of entrepreneurship as well as to prevent unlawful interference with the activity of entrepreneurs during inspection visits. In the territory of the country, all supervision measures (audits, checks, monitoring activities, observation, supervision, raids, etc.) should take place strictly following mandatory registration in the Integrated Information Registry and comply with the rules envisaged by the Law.
The Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On regulation of the inspections conducted in the field of entrepreneurship and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs” clearly stipulates the purpose and underlying principles of inspections. Thus, the purpose of inspections is to ensure entrepreneurs’ compliance with requirements as well as provision of assistance to entrepreneurs by regulatory bodies by protecting the life and health of people as well as preserving environment and state property. Major principles of the Law imply giving preference to prevention of breaches over punishment, or emphasizing preventive and prevising nature of inspections, and ruling out the possibility of running overlapping inspections by different regulatory bodies.
To prevent duplication, the Law specifies a clear list of regulatory bodies empowered to conduct inspections.
For the first time, the Law envisaged provision of consulting services to entrepreneurs, appointment of inspections through risk assessment, maintaining electronic inventory and a requirement to present entrepreners with the check-list of questions during inspection. Thus, the Law envisages the division of entrepreneurs into respective risk groups (high, medium and low-risk groups) to determine the nature of inspection. Whereas business inspections for the high-risk group take place not more than once a year, inspections of the low-risk group should not happen more frequently than once in every three years. In accordance with the Law, during the inspection, every regulatory body should post a list of questions to be answered on the website. This will give entrepreneurs a chance to learn about the regulatory requirements in advance. Also, the Law provides entrepreneurs with an opportunity to receive answers to their questions. Thus, the Law requires every regulatory body to have a hotline. On the other hand, the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On regulation of the inspections conducted in the field of entrepreneurship and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs” allows entrepreneurs to invite specialists of regulatory bodies to visit their facilities. This item is embedded in the Law thus providing entrepreneurs with certain assistance by insuring them against the possibility of future violations.
The Law envisages planned and unplanned inspections. It is also noteworthy that the Law specifies the grounds for unplanned inspections and contributes to the curtailment of their number. Whereas the planned inspections for large enterprises should not last longer than 10 workdays, inspections for medium enterprises may not last longer than 5 days. While the unplanned inspections for large enterprises should not last longer than 5 workdays, the medium and small enterprises can undergo an unplanned inspection for only 3 days. This allows entrepreneurs to spend the least amount of time on inspections. In accordance with the Law, the unplanned inspections can only take place in specific cases and never by the preference of the regulatory body.
Also, to ensure further enhancement of transparency and accountability of regulatory bodies’ activity, the Law requires for its proper assessment to be conducted once a year with submission of a report specifying appropriate information.
Respective legal and regulatory instruments were prepared and approved to ensure development of a mechanism for effective and efficient application of the Law (in accordance with the Decree of 28 August 2013 On enactment of the Law of the Republic of Azerbaijan “On regulation of the inspections conducted in the field of entrepreneurship and protection of the rights of entrepreneurs”). Thus, on 12 May 2014, the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Azerbaijan approved Decision No 142 “On approving the “Rules and terms of entrepreneurs’ payment for the regulatory body’s expenses relating to the collection of product samples’” and on 12 May 2014, it approved the Decision No 143 "On approval of the "Form and procedure for application of the list of questions during checks and inspections.”
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