Digital signature requirements a real headache for small Kyrgyz businesses

A pilot project on digital signatures has just been launched in Kyrgyzstan. Starting this month, reports from those engaged in foreign economic relations (i.e. importers and exporters) will only be accepted electronically with the use of a digital signature. Despite the adoption of this innovative measure, there are 3 main concerns that could complicate things for importer/exporter entrepreneurs:

  1. digital signatures can only be obtained in Bishkek;
  2. internet connections are unstable outside of Bishkek and Osh;
  3. there is no specific criteria for who is a participant in foreign economic relations.

This means that if an entrepreneur was once engaged in importing/exporting, it is conceivable that all of his/her reports (including those not related to foreign trade) be submitted only in an electronic form with a digital signature. Although seen as an important move forward in terms of overall progress, the lack of forethought behind it could turn into tangible issues that cost small- and medium-sized businesses much more than their larger counterparts.