- Sets up Registering Property Task Force, move aimed at enhancing ease of doing biz and investment climate
By Shannon Jayawardena
The Government is currently in the process of streamlining a property registering process in Colombo, a project that is spearheaded by the Ministry of Development Strategies and International Trade with an objective of enhancing the investment climate.The project will also pave the way for taxpayers to receive an efficient service at a comparatively less cost and was taken under the newly-set-up Registering Property Task Force.
Ministry of Telecommunication and Digital Infrastructure Secretary Wasantha Deshapriya said: “When you look at the United Nations’ e-Government Index publications in 2016, Sri Lanka is ranked 73rd out of 193 countries and in terms of Network Regulatory Index we are ranked 63rd out of 139. When it comes to the Global Cyber Security Index we are ranked as the 72nd out of 193. So we are not doing the best but somewhat better.”
He noted that if you look at the country’s Doing Business Index, we are placed at 111 out of 190, which is a huge conflict. These numbers place Sri Lanka in the latter part of the index. The United Nations e-Government Index is based on three indexes, which are online services, human capital and telecom, in which we are lacking.
“However we are doing very well in e-services and in 2014 we were ranked 33rd out of 193 countries. This was a remarkable achievement for online Government services. At the time we had over 50 online services and we are doing well now,” Deshapriya added.
The project’s overall goal thereby is to set up a single online interface which will link all services related to registering a property including payment options and local governments. Although their main focus remains in Colombo at the moment, they will be looking at digitalising the services for all provinces by 2020.
Surveyor General P.M.P. Udayakantha stated: “The global Doing Business report each year evaluates the situation in each country based on how well the country is doing in terms of business operations. Last year we were 111 and we need to improve in certain aspects. In Sri Lanka it’s not very easy to operate a business and the Government is very keen on improving this situation and make the country a better place to do business not only for foreign investors but local businessmen as well.”
He noted that the RPTF had now succeeded in saving time taken to browse through deeds and register a property by cutting down the time spent on the existing nine processes from 51 days to 26 days while properties could be registered within five days by following fewer processes once the digitisation comes into effect.
“We have to further improve these situations in order to bring Sri Lanka up the ladder in Doing Business. We have to make use of information technology to make the processes more convenient for the people. If we bring these services to an online platform, we can provide better and easier services to the people.”