4 March 2015

Top 8 issues emerge at Pacific Business Registries Workshop

The 4th Pacific Business Registries Workshop, a two-day event co-hosted by ADB and the New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO), was held earlier this week in Sydney and over the course of discussions among experts and officials from 10 Pacific island nations, eight key issues emerged that will occupy the Pacific's registry developers, in the short to medium term (ranked in order of importance):
  1. E-payments/Online Payments  – in an age of booming e-commerce many registries still labour under cumbersome and time consuming payments systems;
  2. Ongoing support and upgrades for registries  – the technical assistance from development partners is valued but the demand for assistance is currently outstripping capacity;
  3. Linkages with other registries – countries should be developing their online registries to account for expansion to other categories such as tax, customs and charities;
  4. Legislation – compliance/enforcement are key and need to be undergoing constant process improvement;
  5. Data reporting – more functionality and software development is needed to meet  constantly expanding needs of business and government;
  6. Clarity around secured transactions –  perceived as a complex area, governments need to ensure secured transactions frameworks are adequately understood both within government and among the broader public; 
  7. Awareness raising programs  –  countries need to ensure their citizens are aware and educated about business registries to encourage their use;
  8. The Digital Divide  – the gap between who does and does not have access to the internet and connectivity must be bridged and until it is, analogue systems that people know and trust should be maintained.
The workshop was again moderated by advisors from the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI), which is cofinanced by ADB and the Governments of Australia and New Zealand. Since 2007 PSDI and its partners have assisted in the implementation of electronic business registries in eight Pacific countries: Federated States of Micronesia, Marshall Islands, Palau, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, Papua New Guinea, and Samoa.

The workshop heard first-hand updates from individual countries, complemented by technical presentations covering the latest international trends in electronic payments systems, e-government, and implementation options. What became clear is that while some countries are facing challenges, the Pacific as a region is leading the world in harnessing the power of registries to drive private sector and economic development.