Congratulations on OBRS CIPA …. But, please do not join the “System e down” cohort

17 Jun 2019

There is a common phrase at the government enclave – “System e down” (The computer system is not operational or is offline).

This is a popular, yet not so sweet response usually uttered by front desk officers at government departments and some state-owned agencies when giving feedback to customers, mostly members of the public

The “System e down” tagline is so common that one can mistake it for a norm at the government. The sad reality though it’s that it has been one of our biggest impediments to progress as a nation. We have lost so much money as a nation thanks largely to “System e down”.

Just recently the former Registrar of Companies and Intellectual Property (ROCIP), now known as the Companies and Intellectual Property   Authority (CIPA) launched its Online Business Registration System also known as ORBS. This can be classified as one of the greatest achievements we ever made when it comes to investment and wealth creation for the people of Botswana. Other things held constant of course.

For the sake of those who might not be familiar with it, CIPA was established by an Act of Parliament in 2011 known as Companies and Intellectual Property Authority Act, (Cap. 42:13). Its core mandate is to promote and enable full protection of the rights of investors and right holders obtained under the Companies Act, Registration of Business Names Act, Industrial Property Act and Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Act.

This is indeed a critical role to play in economic growth more especially when as a nation we are only trying to find out foot into the world of business.

As we all might be aware, we are at a point in our economic development path where Batswana are trying to play a catch up in establishing business in most sectors.

For most part of the time since independence Batswana were turned (either involuntarily or voluntarily) into economic spectators. We watched as nationals of other countries came and set up businesses here thus rendering us nothing but mere consumers with no saying even on prices of consumables.

Back to our comment for this week before being derailed by the “rich state, poor citizens’setup we are in, we wish to congratulate CIPA for a well job done in launching OBRS.

This system if ran efficiently will cut costs for indigenous Batswana who wish to set up businesses but also make it easier for foreigners who also want to do the same.  The expectation is that OBRS will shorten company registration from the current three days to 24 hours. This will go in a long way in improving the ease of doing business in Botswana.

As a country, we need to provide efficient and timely services in order to improve our rankings in the ease of doing business. As such we strongly believe that OBRS will play that critical role. We therefore wish to congratulate CIPA for launching OBRS and remain hopeful that it will collapse the three current processes of registering a company into a single process.