Addis Fortune (Addis Ababa)

21 December 2009

Ethiopia: Notary Office to Introduce Online Document Submissions

Residents with the need to authenticate legal documents would no longer have to visit by public notary offices, and hassle with long lines when submitting documents.

The Documents Authentication and Registration Office, one of the three organizations recognized for an award of excellence, will soon avail its services online, when its current efforts to develop a software gets completed.

The Office has hired a private company in software development, Custor Computing Plc, in June 2009.

Established in 1993 with a capital of 60,000 Br, Custor provided similar services to governmental clients including the Addis Abeba Transport Bureau, the Addis Abeba Revenues Bureau, Ministry of Education as well as the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency. Custor Computing made its first presentation of the project to Yirga Tadesse, head of the office, in October 2009. The second presentation is scheduled for Wednesday, December 23, 2009.

The software will minimise queuing and the necessity of the clientele's physical presence, according to Yirga. Clients will be able to fill forms from their homes or offices, and the system will give them designated numbers, which they will be required to present in person to agents at the office.

The filled form will be printed and further processed, Gebre-Sellassie Gebre-Anania, general manager at Custor Computing, told Fortune. He said the company is developing the software based on similar operational programmes in the United States, Europe and South Africa.

"The technology will ease the burden of handling its patrons' documents," Yirga told Fortune. "The system will be in tandem with the result of the office's business process reengineering (BPR)."

Currently, a staff of 200 people handles up to 1,000 clients daily.

Yirga's organization has awarded this project for 200,000 Br five years ago, excluding the cost of hardware. But it is too early to know the entire cost of the project, according to Yirga.

When the project is complete, there will be one server at the head office on King George VI Street, Amist Kilo area, and the branches will be networked, Gebre-Selassie told Fortune.

Currently, the company is at the developmental stage of networking and the Document Authentication and Registration Office will follow upon the implementation phase, before the office aligns it with the BPR, Yirga told Fortune.

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