Rabat – The negative certificate is a document delivered by the Moroccan Office for Industrial and Commercial Property (OMPIC), which certifies that a trade name is not already in use by another company, and can, therefore, be registered on the OMPIC commercial register.
Obtaining a negative certificate is the first administrative step required to legally set up a business in Morocco.
On July 3, OMPIC announced changes to the procedure for obtaining a negative certificate and registering a business name.
Any applications from July 8 onwards, must be made using a new version of the negative certificate application forms. The old forms will no longer be valid.
Under the new changes, a negative certificate is now valid for 90 days, as opposed to one year. Applicants must register their business name on the OMPIC commercial register within 90 days of the negative certificate being delivered.
According to OMPÏC, these changes are designed to “improve and simplify the procedures for creating a business.”
OMPIC reminds applicants that there is an online platform to submit an application for a negative certificate.
Last year, Morocco launched a strategy to facilitate the creation of businesses and to promote national and international investments in the country, by digitizing the business creation application process. One of the aims is to boost Morocco’s ranking on the World Bank ‘Ease of Doing Business’ list.
On the 2019 World Bank list, Morocco was ranked 60th in the world, ahead of all other Maghreb region countries. According to the list, it is the second easiest “doing business” country in Africa, after Rwanda ranked at number 29.
On the ‘Ease of Doing Business’ list, the World Bank gives each country an “ease of doing business score,” based on the country’s position in comparison to the best regulatory practice.
Factors taken into account include the time it takes to set up a business, availability of credit, strength of the tax system, ease of trade across borders, and enforceability of contracts.