Senate Passes Amendments to Companies Act

Local and overseas investors will now find it easier to do business in Jamaica following the passage of the Companies (Amendment) Act on December 19 in the Senate.

The Bill, which was passed in the Lower House on December 17, amends the Companies Act to authorise the use of a single business registration form in order to improve the ease with which businesses can be registered under the relevant laws to conduct business in Jamaica.

In piloting the legislation, Minister of Justice, Senator the Hon. Mark Golding, noted that currently, the bureaucratic process for the incorporation and registration of a new company has rendered Jamaica’s business registration process highly inefficient.

He said this has resulted in Jamaica being ranked below the desired standard in the Doing Business Report.

“This Bill provides for the creation of a one stop shop at the Companies Office of Jamaica (CoJ) to allow persons, who are registering new companies and businesses, to do all of these things through the Companies Office by the completion of a single business registration form along with their incorporation documents,” he stated.

The registration form developed by the CoJ, captures all relevant information previously required by the various government offices prior to registration of a new company or business.

“It’s a step in the right direction and we are glad that it’s finally coming to fruition now,” Senator Golding said.

For his part, Opposition Senator, Nigel Clarke noted that the Bill represents a very important step “and as such, has my full support.”

“I am particularly excited by the amendments that will allow for the creation and submission and storage of documentation by electronic means. That should facilitate the kind of efficiencies that we have not enjoyed before,” Senator Clarke said.

Senator Lambert Brown also expressed his support for the legislation while noting that it “makes the world know that we are open for business.”

The passage of the Bill forms part of the Government’s economic reform programme, and is one of the pivotal structural benchmarks of the administration’s four-year Extended Fund Facility (EFF) negotiated with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), aimed at reducing the country’s debt and spurring economic growth.

By Latonya Linton