bizFIJI portal to benefit local and foreign businesses

Permanent Secretary for Industry and Trade Shaheen Ali (left) and Attorney-General, Minister for Economy, Public Enterprises, Civil Service and Communications Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum. Picture: RAMA

LOCAL and foreign businesses can now access the essential information they need to start a business or obtain a construction permit all in one place with the launch of the online information portal bizFIJI.

This is the first phase of Government’s initiative to provide enhanced information and service delivery for businesses under the four-year digital government transformation program, Minister for Industry, Trade and Tourism Premila Kumar said during the launch of the portal in Suva yesterday.

Mrs Kumar said within two years, the information portal would evolve into a submission portal, allowing people to lodge their applications and receive approvals online.

Government has partnered with the Singapore Cooperation Enterprise, a government agency by the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Singapore, to deliver this project.

Minister for Economy and Attorney-General Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said that apart from improving the ease of doing business, the portal would allow applicants to directly interact with the regulatory agencies instead of depending on accountants, lawyers and other agents who, he said, could sometimes make simple things very complex. He said the aim of the portal was to provide simplicity and objectivity in the application process.

Mr Sayed-Khaiyum said there were about 13 agencies involved in the process of approving construction permits and 9 agencies in setting up a new business. When Government had brought all the agencies together to physically streamline the process, he said, they were able to reduce the amount of time it took by 40 per cent, even without the intervention of technology.

He added that now with the portal in place, within the next year or so they would be able to further reduce the amount of time it took for applications to be approved.

Government has allocated $39.1million in the 2019-2020 National Budget for the digital government transformation program, which aims to bring key government services online to ease access, cultivate inclusivity and improve the quality of life of Fijians everywhere.

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