The time it takes to incorporate a business or register a company with the Corporate and Affairs and Intellectual Property Office (CAIPO) is expected to improve dramatically in the coming weeks as that department rolls out its new corporate digital registry.
On Thursday, staff continued training and user acceptance testing sessions as the digitisation project was rolled out.
CAIPO’s acting Registrar Tamiesha Rochester said this phase, which encompasses the registration of business names and the incorporation of companies, is expected to be completed towards the end of August.
“So we will be able to go live once that phase is completed,” she reported on Thursday, on the sidelines of a training session at the CAIPO Baobab Towers, Warrens office.
The over 30 staff members office have been divided into groups for the training, which is being carried out by an international IT development firm and other stakeholders, including the Ministry of Innovation and Smart Technology (MIST).
“The training we are doing now is actually at the end of the development process. So the programming has been done and the system developed and we have our staff training and testing the system to see how well it holds up and make sure it is fit for purpose and covers everything,” she said.
Individuals often complain about the time it takes to do business with CAIPO whether it is the incorporation of new companies, societies with restricted liabilities or registering a business name.
Starting a business forms part of the doing business indicator, which is measured annually by the World Bank Doing Business index.
In the 2020 index, Barbados was ranked at 128th out of 180 economies, an improvement of four spots from its 132nd position in the prior year’s report.
For starting a business component, the report examines several areas including the time and cost to start a limited liability company.
The country was ranked at 102nd for the starting a business indicator. According to the report, it was taking an average of 16 days to start a business.
However, Rochester gave the assurance that the new corporate digital registry will dramatically improve the time it takes to register a business and conduct other business with CAIPO.
Explaining that the time currently varies depending on the type of business being conducted and the load on the office at the given time, Rochester said these services will now take up to a week.
“We are implementing an electronic solution for our corporate registry which would mean that all of our manual processes will now be moved into a digital format. So it means that our filings, applications for business names and incorporation of companies and so on, persons will be able to complete those processes from filing up to the issuance of certificate, electronically without leaving the comfort of their homes or offices,” she explained.
She said some factors contributing to the delays in the past included people submitting forms with incorrect or missing information, the inability to reach them or sometimes when contacted they would take time to go in and submit required information, which then had to be done manually.
“All of these things tend to prolong the process. In fact, that is why we are moving to this digital platform. It will have the necessary built-in checks and balances to avoid or to render those previous errors irrelevant now in the digital process. It will cut out a lot of the time both for the customer and for us here at CAIPO in processing the applications,” she explained.
The system will allow for individuals to conduct public document search, download documents, track their application and opt for a text message or email, which would inform them when their documents have been filed, received and processed. There will also be an online payment option.