Jamaica News: A total of 130 entities have utilised the Companies Office of Jamaica’s (COJ) Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) since the online facility was piloted on April 4.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the COJ, Judith Ramlogan, made the disclosure at a JIS Think Tank on Wednesday (June 20).
She explained that eBRF allows for expedited business-name reservation and registration.
She said it is designed to improve the agency’s service efficiency, making the business-registration process easier and less time-consuming for clients.
“The eBRF will also cost the customer less. Those using the online registration with COJ will save approximately $3,250,” she informed.
Mrs. Ramlogan said that eBRF represents the first online business-registration system in the Caribbean. The project is being undertaken at a cost of approximately $35 million through the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)-funded Public Sector Efficiency Programme (PSEP).
It is a two-phased implementation, with the first phase facilitating business-name reservation and registration for the sole proprietor and partnership (individual).
The second phase, expected to start in December, will involve corporate sole proprietor and partnerships as well as company incorporation (limited by shares and limited by guarantee).
Mrs. Ramlogan explained that with registration of business names accounting for 77 per cent of the registration transaction, the agency decided to focus on this area first.
She noted that COJ registered more than 9,000 business names last year, and the eBRF will encourage a larger number of registrations.
Mrs. Ramlogan said the online form is simple, with help wizard software, and includes online payment using COJ eBank subscription.
It allows for uploading of documents for processing, secret phrase verification, confirmation of registration by email data protection, and the ability to track documents.
The online business-name reservation is free for up to two days, and there is a cost of $500 to have the name reserved for 30 days.
For his part, Principal Director for the Modernisation Programme Implementation Unit of the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Division, Office of the Cabinet, Wayne Robertson, said that the eBRF is grounded in the national development plan, Vision 2030.
“This Vision 2030 speaks to building the capacities of public institutions to enable them to deliver high-quality services, and the COJ is one such agency that the Cabinet Office has partnered with to achieve this,” he said.
“We are making it easier for the public to do business with the government offices, including the COJ. We want to stop the conversation about improving service and start seeing tangible things in place, and the eBRF is evidence of efforts being made to improve services,” he added.
Mr. Robertson pointed out that in addition to boosting service delivery, eBRF will improve trade and investment facilitation.
He noted that Jamaica has made significant strides in terms of ease of starting a business, with the country ranked five out of 190 countries for that index in the latest World Bank Doing Business report.
“We have surpassed Singapore, which is ranked six. We, however, would love to get to the realm of a New Zealand, who is ranked number one or Canada, which is number two. So this eBRF project will put us in that direction,” he said.
Source: JIS News