BIPA converts files to electronic

By Hilary Mare

BUSINESS and Intellectual Property Authority (BIPA) is now in the process of transferring 175 106 physical files for CCs, Ptys, section 21s and foreign companies to its electronic system, the authority’s marketing and communications practitioner, Toivo Ndapanda has said.

With the entity currently serving between 200 and 300 clients daily at its head office in Windhoek, Ndapanda last week said that BIPA managed to capture 36 462 files thus far which are available as soft copies.

“Having all data and documents available electronically will, once the project is complete, significantly reduce turnaround times for service delivery. It will furthermore permit the authority to distribute documents to its clients electronically, instead of clients having to physically collect their documents from the BIPA offices. It will further ease the application process for clients in the regions, who will be able to access their files via the online platform.

Ndapanda also highlighted that the lockdown in April saw a significant drop in business registrations at BIPA.

Whereas BIPA normally registers more than a thousand businesses a month, the months of April and May 2020, saw only 133 and 261 registrations respectively. However, the picture turned rosier in June 2020, when 1 064 businesses were registered. This however stands in contrast to the 1 458 businesses that were registered in July 2019. For the period July 1 2019 to June 30 2020, BIPA registered 11 691 businesses, the bulk being CCs (7 442) and defensive names (3 287).

“During lockdown, the authority was forced to roll out its online services, despite the platform not being fully functional. This was done to assist clients to continue submitting applications, even if they were not able to leave their homes. From April to July 2020, the authority processed 2 217 applications that were received directly to its offices, and 135 which was received online.

“This is a total of 2 352 applications that were processed from the 11 970 that were submitted. The backlog was caused by numerous system errors and power outages, which hampered the authority’s ability to attend to applications and queries in a timely manner. This led to BIPA announcing a three-week delay in its processing in July,” Ndapanda extended.

Currently, BIPA has a total of 187 064 active businesses registered on its system. Eighty-one percent of these are CCs and 12.6 percent are companies. Defensive Names account for five percent, Section 21 companies for 1.1 percent and foreign companies for 0.

2 percent of the total.

Shortly before lockdown, BIPA deregistered 198 businesses for the period, January to March 2020 – this includes 144 CCs, 50 companies, 3 Section 21 companies and one foreign company. As at July 15 2020, 145 requests for deregistration were still pending.