The government recently introduced several new Government to Business (G2B) services.

We commend them for this milestone. This is the first time citizens can access G2B services.

We welcome that we will not have to visit the economic affairs ministry to apply for a new license or to renew one, among other services.

We expect that the system will make the processes for the services more efficient, thereby reducing red tape. We can expect that turnaround times will be significantly reduced.

It is also hoped that the system is included in the Prime Minister’s eDesk soon, so that a third party is monitoring the system to prevent any unnecessary delays or inefficiencies.

Monitoring of the system by a third party is essential. Businesses also need to play a key role here in not only monitoring the system but also providing feedback and suggestions so that the system can be further improved.

The system has been developed and handed over to the economic affairs ministry.

In the past, there have been cases where despite online services being developed for an agency, the system remains underutilised or even resisted.

With the present economic affairs minister, who is very much active online, it would be safe to assume that there will be little or no resistance.

What is important here is that the bureaucracy keeps up with technological developments.

For instance, while comparatively less than before, there are still stories of work coming to a standstill because an official is out of office either because he/she is on official tour or personal leave. Sometimes there is an officiating official, sometimes not. It is also usually the case that an officiating official is reluctant to make any major decisions and therefore, work can come to a grinding halt.

It is also all too common to hear the dreaded “system down” phrase.

If the online G2B system has to depend on this system of bureaucracy then nothing much will have changed.

It must be ensured that back-up officials are identified for each position in the G2B system. There is also a need to ensure that the backend of this shiny new system is not prone to “system downs”. For this, we need strong IT teams in place, ready to respond 24/7 to glitches and ensure “system up”.