By Bemanya Twebaze
In today’s changing world where clients are demanding faster, efficient and timely services, innovation in service delivery has taken center stage at Uganda Registration Services Bureau. One of the leading processes driving innovation especially for registration services is technology. The role that technology plays has enabled many of the economies in Europe, Asia, USA and Africa score highly in the World Bank doing business annual reports matrices because it addresses the challenge of fast and timely services which URSB is continuously improving with the aid of ICT.
The ever increasing demand in business registers was also noted in the International Business Registers report of 2018 which certified that registries form the core reason for economic growth supported by technology. Many registries expand their mandate due to new legislations, information required to be shared among public authorities and also with the introduction of online services. Technology remains at the fore front as a key driver of most of the reforms in doing of business because it hastens the production processes thus enabling quick entry of businesses into the economy.
Technology & Business
Technology has become a very important part of our lives. In fact, studies show that the average smartphone user interacts with their phone for more than 145 minutes a day. Phones, tablets, TVs, and computers that we rely on have become priority to provide us with content that we use for leisure and business purposes. URSB from the very start initiated a carefully crafted innovation scheme to give clients continuous improvement in service delivery while capitalizing on increasing non-tax revenue for government. Today, about 60 per cent of registration processes provided by the Bureau are automated, and the target is to have a 100 per cent online based system by 2020. Online systems continue to be deployed to ease registration processes for our clients. For example, the existent Business Registration System has greatly reduced the time and cost of formalizing a company. All business processes are now fully automated, company documents are scanned and digitally saved to allow for ease of retrieval of data by all the URSB offices regardless of the location. This has greatly enhanced service delivery in terms of formalization and retrieval of documents for continuous filing purposes.
All Digital Strategy
URSB’s mantra is “All-digital all online”, which drives our activities and we have a target of ensuring all our services are fully electronic by end of the Financial Year 2019/20. To improve client’s experience with our services, a number of systems have been developed that require less interaction with staff and more knowledge on utilizing of electronic system. Filing of companies’ annual returns can now be done from the comfort of your office or home by visiting our website and uploading the requisite documents. The same applies to filing of marriage returns/records after a marriage has been conducted in a licensed church, mosque or the office of the Chief Administrative Officer. All these functions are quite new but we are positive that they will be embraced by our clients and will improve their experience while interacting with our services.
These automation reforms plug in well with the government Vision 2040 strategy that aims at having “A Transformed Ugandan Society from a Peasant to a Modern and Prosperous Country within 30 years”. As part of the drive to attain the status, government identified technological innovation as a core driver to “promoting science, technology, innovation to enhance competitiveness”. URSB will continue to create and roll out innovative ICT reforms and further reduce time and cost of accessing registration services.
Technology has changed every aspect of the workplace and businesses will continue to enjoy the benefits as new inventions and innovations are introduced. Safe records keeping is a crucial element of business growth. Manual record keeping causes many business registers problems due to the way records are maintained and stored, a lesson URSB learnt fast and adjusted to with ease.
Digitization of our records provides safety to clients documents while also enabling ease of reference and retrieval especially when required by clients and some of the investigative bodies within Uganda.
Property for Capital
With the enactment of the Security Interest in Movable Property Act No. 08 of 2019, URSB took on a new mandate of registration of security interests in movable property. The new act provided for establishment of an online movable property registry that will contain details of all security interests registered by secured creditors. Movable Property in the Act refers to farm produce, machinery, motor vehicles, accounts receivables, livestock, household items etc. This will enable MSMEs access credit using their movable property and thus increase the market competition and access to credit. The registry will be fully electronic and will be accessed through our website.
Everything is faster and easier to access because of technology. The impact of technology on business is overly positive. There’s no doubt that technology will continue to be a part of the business world with every advancement made, and as URSB, we will continue to provide ICT solutions that improve on our client’s interface with our services.