This morning, an inauguration and handing over ceremony took place at the Radisson Fort George where the Republic of China (Taiwan) handed over to the Government of Belize the Belize Electronic License and Permit System (BELAPS). Today’s realization of BELAPS has been five years in the making and this momentous achievement will assist the Government in enhancing the efficiency of its existing import/export licensing and permit issuing processes. This comes at a cost of US $1.5 million dollars. At this morning’s handing over, Director of Central Information Technology Office, Francisco Gonzalez shared how the need for such a system came about.
Francisco Gonzalez – Director of CITO
“The Belize Electronics and Permits System was birth from many great minds. Mrs. Michelle Longsworth, Mr. Antonio Madrid, Director Jose Trejo and Mr. John Robateau all saw the current situation citizens were facing when trying to apply for their SCU permits and licenses and all the running around they had to do. There was a desire to ease the citizens’ pains. A proposal was then submitted to Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development Fund otherwise known as ICDF and they readily approved seeing the need for e-governance to begin in Belize. Once given the go-ahead the Central Information Technology Office and High Web proceeded in a collaborative effort to develop a web application that was to allow importers, exporters to apply for their licenses and permits online and allow the department to approve or decline via the same medium.”
The Ambassador of Taiwan H.E. Charles Liu also spoke about the project.
“Today’s handover ceremony for the BELAPS system is yet another significant milestone to the already impressive record of successful bilateral projects between Belize and Taiwan. With the electronic systems, the Belize public users can now apply for twenty-five different import and exporter licenses and permits through a one-step online service in a nearby significantly reduced time and cost involved in possessing the relevant license and permits. Public users will be happy to find that their applications will be processed and approved in a more efficient cost-effective and less time-consuming minutes. Furthermore, the system will benefit not only the end users but also the Belize Government Departments in information sharing and data collecting.”
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber spoke of how the new system will be beneficial to the public and the Government of Belize.
Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber
“It is going to of course make us in the government more accountable and that is what our citizens really deserve, but it is not only our citizens which takes me to my second point. The fact that when Belize is lined up against its other countries in the region and in the wider world and we are looked at in terms of how easy it is to do business. Our grades aren’t very good. They condemn us for in fact being one of the more difficult countries especially in this region to do business with and I see this initiative that brings together the Treasury, the Customs, BAHA, Forestry, the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and the Bureau of Standards. Sorry, I couldn’t understand my own scribble there for a minute. Bureau of Standards; did I miss anybody. I see all of these entities coming together as key entities to allow for those who want to do business in Belize from Belize or from outside to better be able to move ahead.”