The Belize Fisheries Department and Belize Forest Department announced the launch of the Belize Electronic License and Permit System (BELAPS) on April 6, 2016. This means that fishermen or loggers can now sign up to apply for their license online. This is being provided under the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Forestry, the Environment and Sustainable Development, with support from the Taiwan International Cooperation and Development Fund (ICDF), and in partnership with Central Information Technology Office (CITO).
The BELAPS is an internet-based application process for all licenses and permits issued by both Departments and it aims at improving the management of its fishery and forestry resources and services offered to the Public. Users will be able to apply for licenses and permits online, making the application more efficient and convenient. The Database is to implement e-governance in Belize as well as provide efficiency in the sector. Walk-in applications will no longer be accepted; everything must be done online. Fihermen and loggers will have to log on to the system, fill out online application, pay necessary fees to a local bank or online, wait for the application to process and await confirmation.
The planned launch was an opportunity to learn more about the new system and to celebrate this important milestone in the implementation of e-governance in Belize. E-government represents a fundamental change in the public sector structure, values, operation culture and the ways of conducting business by utilizing the potential of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) as a tool in government agencies.
The work has been two years in the making, the first of several modules for online e-government being developed by the Central Information Technology Office (C.I.T.O.), which is the new name for the Information Technology Center (ICT) in Belmopan, which was a gift from the government of the Republic of China on Taiwan. CITO was funded by Taiwan’s International Cooperation and Development fund (ICDF).
Taiwan’s Ambassador to Belize, H.E. Benjamin Ho was present for the BELAPS launch, and he promised this new e-government will give Belizeans easier and more equitable access to more efficient and speedier government services. Work is already underway on similar online systems for the transport department, for driver’s license applications, vehicle registration and licensing, and online licensing procedures for the Belize Agricultural Health Authority (B.A.H.A.) and the Supplies Control Unit.