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Companies Office of Jamaica making business registration easier

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

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MORE than 1,180 people have so far registered businesses using the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) new online system, the electronic Business Registration Form — eBRF.

According to the COJ, the online system provides a hassle-free and more convenient option for those seeking to register a business. This project, it said, supports Government's priority to offer services designed around client's needs by making them more accessible and encouraging investments by creating more efficient processes.

Chief executive officer of the COJ Judith Ramlogan, in a JIS interview, said the online system is a one-stop shop for business regulatory agencies.

“So, what you do is just come to the Companies Office, use the business registration form and be registered, either under the Companies Act 2004 or the Registration of Business Names Act, 1934,” she said, noting that the eBRF eliminates the need to engage multiple government agencies.

“The eBRF has been a long time coming,” she said, noting that the manual business registration form was converted into an electronic version in April 2018.

Prior to the eBRF, Ramlogan said people had to visit the COJ to register a business or company, then Tax Administration Jamaica to get a tax registration number, after which they were required to go to the National Insurance Scheme and other offices to process requirements.

“So, after registration it could take you about eight days and you would have to complete 13 different forms to be able to really start your business,” she added.

Chief executive officer of Amaru Development Rowen Johnson who also spoke to JIS, said it is now easier for him to register a business using the online system.

He said that the process begins with going on the COJ's website and completing a form, stating a business name and a brief description of what it entails.

Johnson, who has been using the online platform for about a year, pointed out that it is important to get prior approval of a business name before registering a business.

“If you physically hand in a form, it will increase your wait time. If you don't get a prior approval of a name, you will have to sit and wait for the name to be approved,” he said.

“What I have also noticed is that once you do it online, it takes a short time. I don't know if those (businesses) get priority or not, but it takes a shorter time for those to be approved, generally two to three days. If you go to the office, you would wait five days,” he said.

The young businessman lauded the work of the technical support team at the COJ.

“They have been excellent. Whenever we have a challenge, I e-mail them and I get responses,” he said, adding that the team is very helpful in resolving the issues.

The eBRF is being spearheaded by the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Division in the Office of the Cabinet, with funding support from the Inter-American Development Bank.


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