The city Trade Bureau is launching a new online application in an effort to ease the process of acquiring certificates of competency, trade registrations and business licensing.
The new system, One Window System, is expected to minimise the number of people required to visit the bureau to obtain official documents, according to Abdulfetah Yesuf, head of Addis Abeba Trade Bureau.
Estimated to cost 3.8 million Br, the new system is currently being developed by local company Custor Computing Plc.
Custor has previously developed the Online Trade Registration & Licensing System for the Ministry of Trade & Industry, an online document registration programme. Additionally, the company completed the Integrated Transport Management System and the Integrated Revenue Management System for the Document Authentications & Registration Agency (DARA).
The Trade Bureau’s new system connects all 116 weredas, 10 districts and eight tax centres across Addis Abeba.
The new initiative is expected to create job opportunities for more than 350 people, with training expected to be delivered to 45 district employees.
As part of the service, the bureau will also add direct short message system (SMS) along with the web-based service.
The development of the application began in mid-2017 and is expected to be finalised at the end of 2018.
“We developed this application to minimise the manual system, customer dissatisfaction and unnecessary back and forth,” Abdulfetah told Fortune.
Before going to the Trade Bureau to obtain a business license, applicants have to get a certificate of competence as a prerequisite to obtaining a business license from different institutions including the Addis Abeba Environmental Protection Authority, the Addis Abeba Culture & Tourism Bureau, and the Addis Abeba Food & Drug Authority.
To obtain these certificates, business owners can apply to these institutions through the new system as it integrates the city offices.
Currently, a person has to wait 15 minutes to get a license from the Trade Bureau if the competency process is completed, according to Dereje Yiberta, ICT department director of the Bureau.
Wubete Nigusse, an expert in computer applications and a lecturer at Kotebe Metropolitan University with a decade of experience, supports the new system.
“The online system reduces cost and time and facilitates operation,” Wubete said. “Not only that, the online system should create accuracy and identify fake trade licenses.”
So far a total of 330,000 business licenses were issued by the Addis Abeba Trade Bureau to 270,000 individuals.
“Some of the offices in weredasdo not have full internet access,” Dereje told Fortune. “So to run the system actively the office must be connected with the internet network.”
To overcome possible internet interruptions, the bureau has made an agreement with Ethio telecom to fix the connection problem within a maximum of 48 hours, according to Dereje.
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