SMART move, Companies' Office
THE EDITOR, Sir:
I write in response to an article published in The Sunday Gleaner titled 'Cutting red tape'. First, I take this opportunity to congratulate the Companies Office of Jamaica for the significant milestone that it has made. The Companies' Office of Jamaica has realised that in this information age, it is critical for us as a nation to use the technological resources available to deliver goods and services to citizens in an effective and efficient manner and for that the organisation must be commended.
This move will not only promote ease of registering companies but will also serve as a motivator for other government organisations delivering goods and services to become more efficient in the way they offer services. Certainly, several countries across the globe have recognised that in a digitalised age, government offices should strive to provide SMART services. By SMART, I mean seamless, mobile, anytime, real time and together.
Seamless services provide linkage and integration among various government ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs). No longer does a prospective business man/woman have to take the trek to Tax Administration Jamaica, the NIS office, HEART Trust and the National Housing Trust to complete the registration process to start a business. Instead, that prospective businessman can access all those agencies using the Companies Office portal.
Mobile government services are services that are accessible anywhere at the users' convenience (Again, tomorrow, I can decide to register my company either from the confines of my room in Claremont or from a community access point located in August Town or anywhere in Jamaica for that matter). Given that I am yet to access the services of the Companies Office, a recommendation - if it has not been part of this package - is that this service should be accessible from any device (tablet, PC, smartphone, etc.).
Hopefully these services provided by the Companies Office can be accessed at the convenience of anyone 12 p.m. or 12 a.m.
Real time means clients will get their feedback in a timely manner. The Companies Office promises that within one day (eight hours), feedback will be provided. If the Companies Office delivers on this promise, this means that it would have been delivering this service in record time when comparison is made with more developed countries.
Second, this move by the Companies Office shows that there can be some amount of integration and collaboration between MDAs in an effort to promote the development of our country. In an era where turbulence and uncertainty is the order of the day, Jamaica's MDA need a greater level of collaboration.
For example, as a country, we need to rid ourselves of the voluminous ministry and agency application process that we have and replace that system with batch processing. Batch processing will allow for the collection of multiple types of information using one form and each agency pulls from that form information relevant to them.
Third, let us look at the Korean experience with Korea On-line E-Procurement System (KONEPS). KONEPS is a system developed in Korea that is used to create a link between MDAs as well as link MDAs to private organisations. The system provides on services such as business licensing, payment of taxes, contract information, procurement services and public bonds. Having these services from varying ministries available in one place allows the public sector to deliver service effectively and efficiently in a collaborative way.
Finally, I must say we have started the process; therefore, let us seek to provide the necessary support systems that will enhance how the public sector delivers its services.
In this age where technology can make processes easier, let us utilise the services available to us. For those services that are already available online (payment of traffic tickets, birth registration, taxes and the rest), let us educate the public so that they can start utilising these services, from anywhere, using any device and at any time.