June 16, 2014
The Minister of Transport and Aviation yesterday decried the "antiquated" state of the Road Traffic Department, claiming that years of neglect have rendered the department "rife with inefficiencies and vulnerabilities which have spilled over in the most negative ways into our public life".
Glenys Hanna-Martin listed the department as a "critical area for reform" given its revenue-generating potential and told Parliament that efforts to "automate" the department will get underway this year.
According to the minister, the Road Traffic Department (RTD) is "the third revenue earner in our country". The government forecast revenue of $39 million from motor vehicles for the 2014/2015 budget.
Despite this, Hanna-Martin described the department as an "essentially non-efficient, somewhat dysfunctional feature of our national life". She added: "We are left to wonder why there has been to date no fundamental reform of this department, which remains largely an antiquated, manual system."
The minister claimed that the process of automating and modernizing the department had begun several years ago, but "for some incomprehensible reason the process was abruptly stopped".
The minister blamed this decision for the degradation of the department and its current state, but reported that the department was now "back on track," following renewed modernization efforts that would eventually "generate increased revenue".
The department is currently exploring methods of automating the department and hopes to provide a host of services online, including the option to order and pay for drivers' licenses and pay duty for vehicles.
"A new RFP was put in by the Minister of Finance and proposals have been submitted, which are now being reviewed by a committee established for the purpose," stated Martin.
Martin said the automation of the department would handle "electronic processing of all road traffic services: inventory tracking, revenue collection, and reporting," and "eliminate the gap in revenue caused by the current system's inefficiency" while providing improved quality of service for the consumer.
"The first phase of automation will be completed by November of this year," said Martin.
"[The system] will interface with the general ledger of the government financial accounting system as well as the cash receipting system. That's currently under development."
According to Martin, the online services will "interface with other government agencies", including customs and the Royal Bahamas Police Force, as well as private organizations, such as insurance companies.
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