RJSC gasping for automation push

Service seekers suffer due to manpower and logistics shortages

REZAUL KARIM | Saturday, 2 November 2019

The Registrar of Joint Stock Companies and Firms (RJSC) that solely authorises the formation of a company or a firm is yet to make any major progress in its automation push.
Officials said the lack of digitisation is putting a damper on prospective entrepreneurs as they face hurdles to get their companies registered.
A decade back, the RJSC introduced e-service for its clients. But until now its service has remained confined to the clearance of names of companies and firms. The RJSC could not do anything notable to digitise its services.
The delivery of service promptly by the state-run RJSC is crucially important as it is closely linked to the 'ease of doing' business, an official source said.
"If businesses get prompt services, Bangladesh will rank higher in the doing business index. It is now 168th out of 190 nations", he mentioned.
Against this backdrop, the RJSC is struggling to deliver smooth services taking the backlog of applications to 0.151 million.
Officials said the state-run RJSC is overloaded with a record number of applications of different types.
Scores of applications are pending with the RJSC for a distinct lack of supporting documents, they mentioned.
Besides, the delivery of different registration and returns documents remains unsettled for shortages of manpower and automation system that continue to hamper the RJSC activities.
As many as 9,000 new firms/companies, on an average, are registered with the entity per year.
To fix this problem, RJSC has recently sought ministerial steps to launch an automation process where people can enjoy paperless service delivery.
When contacted, Prof Mustafizur Rahman, a Distinguished Fellow at the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD), said this is a basic area that needs improvement.
"We've moved eight notches up this year in the doing-business index. But the problem involving basic areas like RJSC registration should be critically addressed and without delay," he told the FE.
The RJSC provides services like name clearance, registration of companies, return filing, wind-up of companies, stuck-up companies, up-to-date particulars and mortgage records.
It cannot approve and record applications for registration, mortgage registration and unchanged annual returns through automation system.
According to an analyst, the country's ease-of-doing-business image is getting dented in the absence of an automation system in registration, mortgage registration and annual returns.
Service recipients suffer as they have to submit hard copies of the documents required, although the RJSC claims to have an online facility, he added.
The RJSC is unable to e-service since it is suffering from an acute manpower shortage.
The supervisory body is currently facing the problem of operating its routine work. The authorities concerned are well aware of manpower shortages.
The RJSC has some 63, out of the required 81 staff members. It has requested the commerce ministry to create 103 new vacancies.
The pressure of registration of companies, partnership businesses, societies and trade organisations is increasing gradually.
To do the job unhindered, the RJSC is badly in need of adequate manpower.
RJSC registrar (additional secretary) Md Zakir Hossain said, "We need to fog or a paperless system. We've already sought commerce ministry's approval."
"Authorisation is needed to approve and record applications for registration, mortgage registration and returns by an auto-generated system."
The RJSC is hamstrung by manpower crisis while the number of new firms seeking registration is rising by the day, he told the FE.
So far, a total of 235,546 companies got registered with the important state entity, according to the RJSC statistics. Of them, the number of private limited companies is 167,802, public limited companies 3,496, foreign companies 887, partnership firms 47,525, society 14,733 and trade organisation 1,102.

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