Making a difference with the use of ICT
Corporate and Business Registration Department

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department falls under the authority of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development. It administers the Companies Act 2001, the Business Registration Act 2002, the Insolvency Act 2009, the Limited Partnerships Act 2011 and the Foundations Act 2012. It is a service provider and in that respect, is a customer focused organization. Its customers consist of a broad range of people-individuals from all social backgrounds and all walks of life including professionals, local and foreigners operating in the business community. For more than 25 years, the Corporate and Business Registration Department has been using manual procedures to incorporate, register or strike off companies and businesses. However, with the rapidly changing political, economic and financial challenges faced by the country, it was imperative that the office progresses and enhances its way of doing business. Thus, in order to improve the quality of services to citizens, the office adopted new methods of doing things and through continuous improvements, staff has managed to minimize red tapes and eliminated lengthy work processes. Indeed, by the year 2006, driven by numerous reforms and in order to modernize the administration setup of the government and avoid bureaucracy, the Corporate and Business Registration Department took up the challenges of becoming business-oriented. It is without doubt, that error-free services will increase the confidence of citizens and information and resources sharing will lead to a seamless integration. In that respect, Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) have been used as a mechanism of the management of public sector organization on a global basis. It incorporates high level services, accelerated processing, increased transparency and low-cost outputs. ICT has allowed us to render better services to citizens and thereby adopting new concept to citizenship by giving them the possibility of dealing directly with Government and vice versa. Besides, the rapid growth in internet usage and development of Information and Communication Technologies and e-commerce/e-business in private sector puts pressure on public sector organizations to serve citizens electronically. The office faced the challenge of transformation and the need to modernize administrative practices and management systems. Thus, it made use of the latest tools in Information and Communication Technologies to progress aggressively in the global economy and to facilitate our customers to do business through the implementation of E-government. This technology has given the Corporate and Business Registration Department the opportunity to, not only provide public services, but also value added information. It also enables the office to work together efficiently with other public organizations.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
The objectives of Government are to improve the quality of public services and the efficiency of public organizations; to operate in line with sustainable practices and to reduce the cost of doing business. In this line of vision, the main priority of Management of the Corporate and Business Registration Department is to devise a strategic plan to guide the organization towards these goals. According to Joel Ross and Michael Kami, two famous authors, “ without a strategy an organization is like a ship without a rudder, going round in circles.” The Corporate and Business Registration Department being the sole depository of corporate information has made use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to guide its work processes. The world of business has been transformed for businessmen and investors both local and international. We provide services that are efficient and timely, information that is accurate and reliable. Additionally, we continuously assist customers by the introduction of innovative products and solutions that are beneficial and efficient to the business world. Productivity is maximized and better and more reliable businesses are created. In fact, technological progress is a considerable driving force behind economic growth and job creation. The rapid growth in internet usage has allowed the organization to offer online services, updated information on its website, correspondences by emails. Online services are convenient to everyone as transactions carried out can be done from any location. An Electronic Document Management System (EDMS) for data and image capture of documents lodged has also been implemented. This technology allows information in paper format and supporting documents to be captured directly on the database. The use of the scanning technique helps to keep the original documents in good condition by preserving the image for indefinite use. An Information Centre has been implemented where staff well versed in corporate matters provide information which is available on the data base. Thus, iinformation can be obtained, searched, viewed and printed through the network within minutes. Payment is also available online , allowing a customer to pay at his own convenience and avoiding the hassle of queuing up. Besides, in this world where sustainable development practices are crucial, the Corporate and Business Registration Department has recognised, rewarded and nurtured innovation in its strategic approach. It has adopted Earth-friendly behaviours, policies and technologies by moving towards a paperless office and followed the growing trend of ‘Going Green”. However, the execution of strategies does not depend only on the use of the latest state- of the- art technological tools but also upon human resources. No office can function without human resources. They are one of our biggest assets for the vast and diverse range of our employees’ capabilities, experience qualifications give us substantial advantages in the global market- one that we are keen to retain for the fulfilment of our objectives. They are constantly reminded to reflect and understand how each and every one is connected with our customers and to share their experience with us. Our progress is based on our employees’ abilities and talents. Diversity being one of the guiding principles of the organization, we rely on the inclusion and collaboration of different thinking, background, expertise, experiences and individual qualities.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
Our mission is to put customer first whilst ensuring a better, more sustainable future for all. We aim also to provide customers with excellent, reliable and timely service. So, we brought a distinctively new approach to our work environment. Where service delivery is concerned, the needs, wishes and expectations of the customers are always being considered. Our implementation of the Image Scanning has succeeded in shortening response times to customer queries and speeding up deliveries. Service standards are set and are measurable so that customers can judge for themselves whether or not they are receiving what was promised. Procedures are streamlined to serve the customers promptly and efficiently. We introduced online services which have opened an array of advantages. Indeed, online services give customers the flexibility to proceed with a transaction without having to come physically to the office and have allowed our stakeholders to evolve in a green and sustainable world. Customers can verify the status of their applications more promptly. Online payment through debit / credit card has been implemented to modernize the revenue collection currently in place. The online links through our database has also led to a sharing of information between various departments and the office.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department has as mission to put the customer first whilst ensuring a better and more sustainable future for all. In that line, the office has made use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to fulfil its mission. Indeed, in an era of rapid shifts in technology, customers’ demands and public sector challenges, the office has realized that it is imperative to evolve towards a global economic integration. Over the past two decades the most progressive reform is the improvement in the relationship between the citizens and the office. Internet connectivity has led to numerous possibilities and we have taken the opportunity of developing a website which contains a valuable source of information and is continually updated. Most information required by an investor or businessman can be viewed from the website and is easily accessible. Legislations administered by the office, the basic details of businesses, contact details of senior staff may be viewed. All the forms that need to be filled in accordance with legislations and regulations are downloadable. The office has gone a step further by providing online services. The Corporate and Business Registration Department has moved forward towards a digital environment. Most transactions carried out online can be done from any location as long as internet access is available. Online lodging has not only enable the office to reduce the amount of paper but has given flexibility to our customers to proceed with the incorporation of a business or the filing of a statutory document without having to come physically to the office. Any missing, incomplete, inappropriate information is communicated online to allow the customer to effect the necessary changes. It also allows data entry to be captured directly, allowing for greater accuracy and security, thus eliminating the margin of errors on records. Documents captured for future reference online have eventually reduced turnaround time. Online payment has been made possible and this has brought customers closer to the Corporate and Business Registration Department. In addition, customers can verify the status of their application more promptly without having to phone or call at our office. Very often, there is need to share information among the various government departments, local authorities, and parastatal bodies. This has been made possible by interconnection through our central data base which allows for sharing of information. This collaboration among different organizations is fruitful and helps in bringing seamless integration. The Corporate and Business Registration Department has embarked on the project of image scanning of documents in the form of a Document Management System. Scanned documents are referenced by officers directly without the physical movement of files. Scanned information is made available over our network so that the information can be searched and viewed. Even correspondences are sent through emails to cut down costs and unnecessary time delays. It would not therefore, be an overstatement to say that process automation lies at the heart of paperless concept and we are geared towards an environmentally sustainable future.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Being the sole organisation in Mauritius where information regarding companies, businesses, partnerships and foundations are kept, the Corporate and Business Registration Department has capitalised on the tremendous breakthrough of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to improve its services. In order to meet the ever increasing expectations of the public, management laid down a solid foundation to ensure the successful implementation of the initiative. Through training, staff was encouraged to make use of modern technologies and they gradually felt comfortable in providing services through internet and networks. Thus, the online Company and Business Registration Integrated System (CBRIS) was implemented. Being a secure web based application for registration of businesses, it caters for the incorporation of companies, filing of statutory forms, payment of yearly fees and a summarized company search facility. Citizens can have an easy access for obtaining business information quickly and accurately. This project has been worked out by the Corporate and Business Registration Department itself in collaboration with the Mauritius Network Services Ltd who is our service provider. However, as for all public sector organization, the Central Informatics Bureau operating under the aegis of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology overviewed the project. The quality of service at the Corporate and Business Registration Department has also been improved through the successful implementation of the scanning technology. The project partly funded by the Government of Mauritius and the Investment Climate of Africa has been developed by the State Informatics ltd, our service supplier. In that respect our CBRIS system which automates all activities of businesses was developed. The CBRIS has attended to the various drawbacks that the Corporate and Business Registration Department has been facing when dealing with the incorporation of companies and registration of businesses and partnerships. Our server itself is hosted at the Government Online Centre (GOC) which is the centralised data centre to provide Government services to citizen, businessmen both local and international and government officers. This IT infrastructure has enabled the optimum use of IT in the office.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department has capitalised on human, technical and financial resources’ costs for its initiative in making its services more efficient. Human resources are no doubt vital as no office can function without them. Employees are at all times, undoubtedly our greatest assets. Their primary role is to inform customers of the purpose and performance of the work they are required to perform to ensure successful implementation of the initiative. The initiative may even provide opportunity to customers to interact with the office for the services they require. Employees have to reflect and understand how each and everyone are connected to the people they serve. However, the initiative cannot be realised without the proper technical resource which includes the work environment and the relevant tools. The presence of ICT infrastructure is an inevitable requirement to facilitate the customers through the implementation of the e-services. Across the organisation communication is required to perform duties effectively. The current infrastructure has shown tremendous growth to what was available before the initiative. With the convenient access through our internet connection, information can be obtained 24/7 anywhere from the comfort of one’s premises. Online services have given flexibility to our customers to proceed with a transaction without having to come physically to the office. With the Electronic Document Management System in place, customers are not only given a timely service but the office itself saves space and energy as documents are captured electronically. At the same time, the work environment is in line with the “Go Green” concept. The organisation, being a provider of corporate information is a large consumer of paper and related printing/copying supplies. Now, most correspondences have moved from paper to electronic communications through mails and phone calls. When we receive mails, we are advised to think before printing for a hard copy of the document may not be needed. That major shift to a paperless environment has not only contributed to savings costs in postage, office supply budget but has impacted on the time factor. Even technical backup has been provided by the Government online centre (GOC) for the organisation has been designed to be equipped with state-of-the-art IT infrastructure and tools to enable IT optimisation in the public sector while at the same time providing comprehensive information on government services and enabling online Search on a 24x7 basis in a user-friendly and fully secured manner. Besides, the implementation of the initiative is undoubtedly an expensive process. The Government of Mauritius is aware that it is only through E-Government that quality of services can be improved. Thus, successive governments building on the reforms introduced previously provided the funds in all stages of the initiative. This resulted in a highly sustained productivity gains and improvement in the effectiveness of the services provided by the Corporate and Business Registration Department. Further, the initiative was also funded through an external party, the Investment Climate for Africa.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
In its quest to ensure international competitiveness and to enhance the quality of services offered, the Corporate and Business Registration Department made use of Information and Communication Technologies(ICT). The most successful outputs of this initiative have been without doubt the benefits that devolved from the online and scanning implementation. Internet is a powerful channel for sharing and accessing information. In that manner, it has been possible to create a website for the office. The website provides valuable information for conducting research without geographic boundaries and time limits. At the same time, online services allow not only information to be obtained 24/7 from the comfort of one’s premises but give flexibility to proceed with a filing of document without the need to call physically at the office. It is faster compared to the conventional over the counter transaction. Incorporation of companies, for instance, can be done within 30 minutes compared to 1 day over the counter. Even payment of fees can be effected through the internet and in that way, the availability of government services are provided in a manner which is more conducive to the public. Online service has also the advantage of having data captured directly- thus allowing for greater accuracy, integrity and eliminating the margin of errors on record. Information can be accessed instantly. Lost information can be recovered easily, there is no need to have a re-filing exercise and there is no deterioration of the document lodged. Very often there is need to share information among the various government departments, local authorities and parastatal bodies. This has been made possible by interconnection through our central data base which allows for sharing of information. The very fact of moving towards a digital environment has also led to sustainable development practices. In fact, use of paper has been considerably reduced as electronic communication has been adopted. The paperless environment contributed to the protection of natural environment and we can thus embrace our responsibility to help create an environmentally sustainable future.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department uses Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance its provision of services. In that respect, the office has focused itself as being accessible, efficient, effective, transparent and sustainable in the implementation of its strategy. In order for customers to reach us easily, guidelines, legislations and downloadable forms were posted on the website of the organization. The language used is simple and easy to understand. A committee comprising of officers of the department and the webmaster ensure that the information provided is continually updated. There is also a proper control at every step of our work procedures for in the computer system, each entry can be easily traced. During monthly meetings, management sensitized the staff on the need to use ICT to promote more efficient and effective services which at the same time provide more accessible government services and allow greater public access to information. Online services were first tested by the office before allowing its use. There is also the implementation of the Electronic Document Management System for data and image capture of documents lodged. This project was governed by an Advisory Committee which consisted of high level stakeholders, individuals from the private and public sectors who provided guidance on key issues such as policies and objectives, budgetary control, marketing strategy and resource allocation. The Committee presided by a Chairperson met once every calendar quarter until the project was completed. For effective implementation and supervision, the scanning technology had clear human resource needs in terms of qualification and experience required. Thus, a Project Management Team led by a Project Director was set up. The Project progress was reported to the advisory committee and minutes of the meetings were signed by the members and properly filled. The Project Director was responsible for ensuring that the project was delivered on time, according to budgetary plans and as per the objectives. In fact, the project lasted for about 18 months. The Corporate and Business Registration Department had been able to provide timeliness, courtesy, access and client-orientation in public service delivery.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department has enhanced its services by the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). However, the implementation of the technologies had been a challenging task. Indeed, people are resistant to changes and innovations, especially at the workplace. The staff was no exception to this. However, with the help of training, discussions and interest groups, resistant to change has been reduced to a minimum. The active role of top leaders is crucial, especially at the earliest stages to raise awareness. Staff, being thus encouraged, feel comfortable of using online systems and corporate information is available on a click. ICT literacy being still at a low level, some customers are unable to handle online systems. They do not trust the accuracy of e-services, they show hesitation to use computers to perform their functions. But, through trainings and mutual interest, customers felt comfortable in using online systems as they are getting optimal utility of the information available to everyone. Funding is and has always been one of the major problems that the office encountered as expenditure for public funds have to be accounted for. From the acquisition of the simplest office equipment to the most sophisticated electronic tool and even to the recruitment of personnel, all expenditures have to go through tedious and sometimes time consuming procedures. However, the Government’s approach in the Information Age is to make use of Information and Communication Technologies to enhance the range and quality of public services to citizens and business while making government more efficient, accountable, and transparent. In that line, Government has supported the initiative financially and as expediently as possible. Government has recognised that it needs to foster a public sector which is successful and productive in order to upgrade Mauritius as a business friendly, competent and highly skilled jurisdiction.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
The Corporate and Business Registration Department has, as vision an office which remains an innovative, aggressive, ethical and successful organisation by offering quality services to the corporate and business sectors locally and internationally. Thus by adopting Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) to enhance its services, it has translated the vision into reality for the economic growth of the country. As a service provider, the Corporate and Business Registration Department has promoted excellence in public service delivery. In this Information age, customers’ demand and public sector challenges, the office has realized that it is imperative to evolve towards a global economic integration. Thus customers are provided with quality service delivery and at the same time contributing to a high level of sustainability. We have shifted from inward-looking, bureaucratic systems, processes and attitudes toward new ways of working which put the needs of the public first, in a better, faster and more responsive manner. With the use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), internet connectivity has not only brought customers closer to the Corporate and Business Registration Department, but has assisted the office in going paperless. Online services have opened up an array of advantages. They have not only given the flexibility to customers to effect a transaction without having to come physically to the office but have also benefited the generations to come to a green and sustainable world. Most transactions carried out online can be done from any location as long as internet is available. Any missing, incomplete, inappropriate information is communicated online to allow the customer to effect the necessary changes. It also allows data entry to be captured directly, allowing for greater accuracy and security, thus eliminating the margin of errors on records. Documents captured for future reference online have eventually reduced turnaround time. Incorporation of companies, for instance, can be done within 30 minutes compared to 1 day over the counter. It also enables customers to have access to relevant document in electronic format remotely. Even payment online has been implemented to modernize the revenue collection currently in place and to minimize the movement of people to our office. Equally important is the benefit that the electronic management system has brought. This scanning technology has allowed for space saving, instant access to information, recovering of lost information, no re-filing and no deterioration of document lodged. The Information Centre has made it possible for calls and queries from the public to be centralized. This office is manned by officers well versed with legislations administered by the office as they attend to the queries of the public. We have succeeded in shortening response time to customer inquiries and speeding up deliveries of service. Each year we conduct an annual survey which measures our customers’ satisfaction. Besides, the office is an ISO certified organisation since 2006. We even undergo regular external audits, especially since the evaluation by external experts also prove worthwhile for us. Service standards are set and are measurable so that customers can judge for themselves whether or not they are receiving what was promised. At the same time, the office can keep track of practices that are not in conformity with the standards set and hence is in position to take remedial action, thus assuring the long-term quality of our services.

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
The use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) at the Corporate and Business Registration Department has, in many ways, been a sustainable and transferable initiative. It has drastically changed the way we act, think and work. The creation of the internet site has improved access to the provision of services and has promoted equity by extending these services to a wider population. Most information required by an investor or businessman can be viewed from our website and is quickly accessible. Even new entrants to the market environment are able to visualize the contents of our website. Apart from useful information which has been posted, there are also downloadable forms used in connection with the various legislations administered by the office. ICT has brought new opportunities in spite of the financial crisis. The office has implemented online services to be at par with other leading jurisdictions, thus at the same time advancing sustainable development. Online services are convenient to everyone as transactions can be done from any location as long as internet access is available. The implementation of E-payment system allows customers to effect payment at any time without calling physically at the counter. Such a system reduces cash handling, reconciliation time and other associated costs. There is also increased communication between the various partners, thus making globalisation possible. The world is becoming more interconnected because of our ability to communicate with each other. Any missing. Incomplete, inappropriate information is communicated online to allow the customer to effect the necessary changes. The needs of customers are efficiently and effectively taken into consideration. The services of the office have been solicited on numerous occasions by various departments to share its knowledge and experience in the field of customer service. This clearly demonstrates that our contribution to enhance our service provision has been and will be a continued source of inspiration to other departments locally and internationally. When one considers sustainable development, we have to consider also our ecosystem and all natural resources. ICT has helped us to adopt earth-friendly behaviours by moving towards a paperless environment. In this way, we have paved the way to the go-green concept for the benefit of future generations. ICT initiative which has been adopted at the Corporate and Business Registration Department is a reality that can be embraced by all organisations as its benefits are numerous.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
The Corporate and Business Registration Department has implemented Information and Communication Technologies(ICT) in order to remain an innovative, aggressive, ethical and successful organisation by offering quality services. ICT initiatives do not always deliver the desired results, take longer than planned and cost more than budgeted. However, in order to pursue our goals, we have had to improve and learn from the challenges. Indeed, the office has been faced with problems due to the lack of basic ICT infrastructure. Fortunately, Government is aware that presence of ICT infrastructure is an inevitable requirement to progress aggressively in the global economy. The current infrastructure has shown tremendous growth as compared to what was available some 25 years back. ICT literacy is also mandatory to empower the citizen to use online services. So, the office has used the discount in fee strategy to encourage those citizens who use online services. Besides, the benefits of online service have extensively been marketed. Although initially, we faced problems to manage change in organisation. Employees feel that they are losing their powers and are being replaced with technology. However, eemployees understand that democracy, accountability, openness and transparency are benefits rather than threats. New training methods of the staff have been developed to refocus and enhance existing skills in managing relationship with customers. Besides, implementation of ICT initiatives require not only deep commitment of top management but also requires huge capital investment and operational expenditures. The involvement of top leadership in the implementation of all stages of the initiative is necessary. The active role of top leaders is crucial, especially if the quality of services to customers has to be improved and for error-free services to increase the confidence of customers. Financial and Technical backup are requirements at all stages of project implementation.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Corporate and Business Registration Department
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Mrs D Packiry P Chinien
Title:   Registrar of Companies  
Telephone/ Fax:   202 0601/208 7263
Institution's / Project's Website:  
E-mail:   comd@mail.gov.mu  
Address:   One Cathedral Square Jules Koenig Street
Postal Code:  
City:   Port Louis
State/Province:  
Country:  

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