17 July 2018

Botswana: CIPA Contributes to Business Reforms

Mochudi — The Companies and Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA) is said to be directly contributing six of the 40 reforms on the National Doing Business Reforms Roadmap.

Responding to a questionnaire from BOPA, CIPA acting registrar general, Ms Ntesang Sebetso said the reforms included introducing business deadlines, online business registration system, unique identification number for businesses and enabling completion of all procedures related to starting a business at CIPA.

She said the reforms all hinged on the introduction of the Online Business Registration System (OBRS).

Ms Sebetso said CIPA had successfully pushed for legal reforms to allow for more simplified processes of company registration through the OBRS.

She said at present, there were three procedures for company registration, taking a cumulative of 12 days to complete the process, revealing however that, with the legal reforms that were passed by Parliament, company procedures would be collapsed to just one procedure, taking one day to register, making a saving of two procedures and 11 days.

She further said, as a corporate registry, CIPA had a service level agreement with Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) to expedite registration of companies for foreign and local investors that came through BITC.

Ms Sebetso said CIPA registry was sitting with around 350 registered external companies, against a cumulative total of 260 262 local companies.

She said current challenges included lack of corporate information currency for registered businesses due to inadequate support from the adopted legacy IT system.

She further said CIPA had to address issues of public education and awareness on the service it offered, including thorough understanding of the obligations and compliance requirements expected from companies and their office bearers.

Ms Sebetso said human capital was still a thorn on service delivery, especially around times when government programmes such as Youth Development Fund (YDF) and Gender Affairs were being dispensed and required registered businesses.

She said the OBRS project would come in handy to alleviate the challenges of the legacy IT system and allowed for staff re-order and retooling to better service customers under the new dispensation.

She revealed that CIPA had entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development to enable better facilitation and registration of youth businesses for those wishing to benefit from the YDF.

Ms Sebetso said the OBRS project came with a full automation of company registration and maintenance of records and would also enable online submission of applications and approval, including certificates issued by the authority.

She said furthermore, all available online payment solutions would be taken onboard by the OBRS, thus saving time and money for customers.

Source : BOPA

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