THE One Stop Business Facilitation Centre (OBFC) has addressed the missing element to its online company registration by launching an e-payment system.
Since its establishment in 2014, the OBFC’s online company registration system was hamstrung by the manual payment aspect, which defeated the stated objective of fostering efficiency and lowering costs.
OBFC Director, Monaheng Monaheng, this week told the Lesotho Times that the e-payment system went live at the end of October 2017. He said, in the past, prospective investors had to fork out an extra M1 500 for agent fees to the M530 registration amount.
“Before the e-payment went live, investors who were either based outside the country or outside Maseru used to incur high travelling costs to OBFC offices as well as finding agents to make payments on their behalf,” he said.
“But now with the advent of the online payment system, life will be made easier for foreign investors to register a company in Lesotho regardless of where they are and at any time.”
He said the e-payment system could also have a positive impact on the country’s performance in the global business rankings.
“Its absence was one of the factors working against us in the Doing Business rankings. Our online registration system was not considered fully electronic without the e-payment component.
Like the online registration system which was procured from New Zealand company, Foster Moore Limited, the e-payment facility is financially supported under the World Bank’s Private Sector Competitiveness and Economic Diversification Project in Lesotho. The new system is available on the same online registration interface, which is accessed by logging onto www.obfc.org.ls.
Mr Monaheng explained that the payment platform uses debit cards, whereby one can punch in the details supplied on the card face. Visa and MasterCards can be used by investors outside of Lesotho.
He said the e-payment system was being monitored by Accountant-General Sam Mphaka, with the intention of rolling it out to other government departments.
Mr Monaheng added that the system would also prevent the embezzlement of funds by employees.
The initiative has been lauded by Junior Chamber International- Lesotho Chapter President Bokang Molelle, who said it would improve the ease of doing business.
Junior Chamber International- Lesotho Chapter fosters the social and economic development of youths.
“The e-payment system gives us the convenience of paying at a time of our choosing,” Mr Molelle said.
“For instance, a person may meet a foreign investor outside the country and right there decide to register a company.”
However, he said the caveat for the e-payment system was that many Basotho were not conversant with the internet and the uptake may be slow initially.
“There are concerns that the website is a bit too complex for the process of registering a company. It could be simplified to shorten the processes involved,” Mr Molelle said, adding that another option could be setting up a website in Sesotho to increase the number of users.