**Hon. Allyson Maynard-Gibson, M.P.
Minister of Financial Services and Investments**
The Ministry of Financial Services and Investments (MFSI) has launched the initial phase of a series of automation projects expected to be completed by January 1, 2006. The first component of online services at the Registrar General’s Department (RGD) is the automation of the Deeds and Documents section. By the end of the year, the Registry will have 30 years worth of deeds available in electronic format to facilitate electronic searches and copies.
Minister of Financial Services & Investments Allyson Maynard-Gibson said that by the beginning of next year, all of the services available at the Registrar General’s Department will be available electronically and online — Companies, Deeds and documents, Births, Deaths and Adoptions, Marriages, and Industrial Properties.
Customers will be able to perform electronic searches from “a bank” of terminals available at the Registrar’s department for public use, or from a computer anywhere with Internet access. As a part of the government’s e-commerce initiative the Central Bank along with the Treasury has begun implementing its credit card payment facilities whereby government services can be paid via approved credit card facilities. The Registrar General’s Department has been chosen as the pilot test department to begin implementing the process. Clients anywhere in the world will be able to access the services of the Registrar General’s Department and make credit card payments online. These enhancements serve to demonstrate that *”The Bahamas is serious about e-business in all of its aspects,”* said Minister Maynard-Gibson, whose ministerial portfolio includes the RGD.
The newest online services are expected to boost government revenue. *”The Registrar General’s Department is the third largest revenue earner for government, and we project this year that we will earn almost $30 million dollars, and that is without all of the online facilities,”* said the Minister. During the period January-March, 2005 revenue figures for the Department indicate that there has been a healthy increase in comparison to the same period of 2004. For this first quarter the department generated $11,243,718.00 compared to $ 9,146,345.00 for the same period in 2004. On the current trend, estimates for the financial year 2005-2006 may be surpassed.
A committee has been established to advise the Minister on the automation process and to provide oversight on its implementation. BFSB’s CEO & Executive Director Wendy Warren serves as co-overseer of the sub group on Process Engineering, and says the private sector-led organisation is pleased to work with the Ministry and the Registrar in moving this project forward.
Describing the RGD as a fundamental point that influences private sector services, Ms. Warren said, *”From a financial services sector perspective, the work at the Registry is crucial. We are competing on a global platform and to the extent the RGD is able to provide the industry with very good services, the private sector – inclusive of banks, trust companies, accountants and lawyers – in turn, is able to deliver a better quality of services internationally.”*