On­line firm registry faces glitches

Lesotho Times - - Business - Bereng Mpaki

THE on­line com­pany registry of the One Stop Busi­ness Fa­cil­i­ta­tion Cen­tre (OBFC) will soon re­turn to full oper­a­tion as soon as an on­go­ing sys­tems up­grade is com­pleted.

Ac­cord­ing to OBFC Act­ing Di­rec­tor Mon­a­heng Vin­cent Mon­a­heng, the dis­rup­tion was due to the on­go­ing in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy (IT) in­fra­struc­ture en­hance­ments at the Min­istry of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy (MCST), where the sys­tem’s servers are hosted.

The on­line registry, which is im­ple­mented by OBFC un­der the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try (MTI), has been switch­ing off at ran­dom intervals since July this year. As a re­sult, busi­ness com­mu­nity were find­ing it dif­fi­cult to search the reg­is­ter and lodge doc­u­ments for reg­is­tra­tion on­line.

The glitches also mean the govern­ment is un­able to col­lect rev­enue in ex­change for de­liv­er­ing the ser­vice to en­trepreneurs.

The sys­tem was installed in De­cem­ber 2014 through the help of a New Zealand soft­ware com­pany Fos­ter Moore In­ter­na­tional Limited, which sup­plied the govern­ment of Le­sotho with the Cat­a­lyst soft­ware. The on­line registry was in­tro­duced to speed up the com­pany reg­is­tra­tion process, as part of the coun­try’s ef­forts to im­prove its in­vest­ment cli­mate.

Also in­volved in the col­lab­o­ra­tive project was the New Zealand Min­istry of Busi­ness, In­no­va­tion and Em­ploy­ment and the New Zealand Min­istry of For­eign Af­fairs.

Mr Mon­a­heng said they were ex­pect­ing the ser­vice to re­turn to nor­malcy as soon as the sys­tem en­hance­ment is com­pleted. The MCST is en­hanc­ing its IT sys­tem in prepa­ra­tion for the in­tro­duc­tion of e-govern­ment — a com­puter sys­tem link­ing all func­tions of the min­istries to­gether.

He also dis­missed al­le­ga­tions the on­line com­pany reg­is­tra­tion sys­tem was fal­ter­ing due to their fail­ure to pay the ser­vice provider.

“It is not true that the sys­tem is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing chal­lenges due to non-pay­ment of ser­vice provider. The truth is our sys­tem is ex­peri- enc­ing these chal­lenges due to on-go­ing IT sys­tem en­hance­ment at the Min­istry of C o mmu­ni­ca­tions, Sci­ence and Tech­nol­ogy which is where our sys­tem is be­ing hosted,” Mr Mon­a­heng said.

He said Fos­ter Moore In­ter­na­tional Limited was fully paid for the cur­rent fi­nan­cial year, and the com­pany had never shut down the sys­tem due to late pay­ment by the govern­ment of Le­sotho.

Mr Mon­a­heng said the ma­jor rea­son that in­flu­enced the de­ci­sion to host the sys­tem at the MCST was due to the ex­is­tence of the req­ui­site IT in­fra­struc­ture which the MTI did not have.

He also in­di­cated that the dis­rup­tion had taught them of the need to have a back-up plan, which they had al­ready started work­ing on.

“We are al­ready mak­ing prepa­ra­tions to have the sys­tem backed up on the Cloud sys­tem tech­nol­ogy, which will com­ple­ment the ex­ist­ing MCST in­fra­struc­ture but as a pri­mary host,” Mr Mon­a­heng said.

“We are also work­ing to­wards mak­ing the sys­tem func­tional dur­ing its off-line times to al­low in­ter­nal ac­cess so that walk-in clients can still ob­tain the ser­vices man­u­ally.”

Mean­while, the OBFC has also called on bet­ting firms to come to the OBFC to re­new their traders’ li­censes.

The ser­vice had been tem­po­rar­ily sus­pended, along with is­su­ing new li­censes, at the min­istry for some time. This had re­sulted in some busi­nesses op­er­at­ing with ex­pired traders’ li­censes.

“Ac­cord­ing to the Bet­ting and Lotteries Act, reg­u­la­tion and of­fer­ing of such ser­vices is a re­spon­si­bil­ity of the Min­istry of Fi­nance, al­though they have been of­fered here for a long time,” Mr Mon­a­heng said.

“But re­cently, the Min­istry of Fi­nance re­quested that we re­turn the ser­vices to them. How­ever, that has not been suc­cess­ful and now the ser­vices of re­new­ing ex­ist­ing li­censes will re­sume at the OBFC while dis­cus­sions with the Min­istry of Fi­nance are con­tin­u­ing,”

The on­line registry is im­ple­mented by OBFC un­der the Min­istry of Trade and In­dus­try.

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