New Companies Bill Discussed By Stakeholders
Mr. Felix Addo has strongly advocated a complete independent Company Office to register new companies in the country.
Mr. Addo is a Member of the Committee of Experts helping the Committee of Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs of Parliament to fine-tune the new Companies Bill (2018), which is currently before parliament.
Mr. Addo, who is a renowned accountant, said that having a complete independent office well resourced and properly staffed would ensure smooth registration of new companies without any bureaucracy.
He was speaking at a stakeholders' forum on Tuesday in parliament organized by the Committee on Constitutional, Legal land Parliamentary Affairs which is considering the nitty-gritty of the new Companies Bill that is seeking to amend, consolidate and review the Companies Act of 1963 (Act 179) to bring into being a robust new Companies Act consistent with the needs of a developing country like Ghana.
His position was in response to a plea by one of the participants, Nana Osei-Bonsu, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Enterprise Federation (PEF), who had suggested to the committee to maintain the status quo of allowing the Registrar General's Department to exercise that responsibility of registering new companies operating in the country.
Nana Osei-Bonsu opined that it would cost extra money to set up an entirely new office for that purpose adding that government would also have to hire new staff and pay them at the expense of the nation while the Registrar-General's office could easily do that at a lesser cost. But Mr. Felix Addo said creating a new office would fast-track the process because that office would be solely dedicated for the registration of new companies.
He disclosed that the practice is done in many countries like the United Kingdom and Madagascar where such offices have been set up solely for registration of companies to ensure that investors don't get frustrated when coming to invest in new companies.
However, the CEO of PEF stressed the need for all laws related to business establishments and operations to be reviewed in a holistic manner and synchronized.
“The new Companies Bill should not be looked at in isolation but must be done together with the Registration of Business Names Act, 1962 (Act 151) and the Incorporated Private Partnership Act, 1962 (Act 152)”, he said.
He indicated that the clauses of the new Bill should be couched in a simple language because most people establishing small and medium scale industries must be able to read new Act and easily understand.
A private legal practitioner who has specialized in company law, Seth Kwasi Asante, in his contribution, raised issues with a number of clauses in the Bill including clauses 19, 59, 61, 64, 76, 78, 145, 162, 192, 198, 224, 239, 288 and 289 and said the committee must pay particular attention to those clauses and analyze their impacts very well.
For instance, he noted that clause 224 that deals with application to court for exemption on grounds of insolvency must be revisited.
The Chairman of the Committee on Constitutional, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs and New Patriotic Party (NPP) Member of Parliament for Offinso South, Ben Abdallah Banda, stated that the committee would critically consider all amendments proposed by stakeholders and factor them into the Bill, adding “the door of the committee is still open to further proposed amendments from members of the public until the Bill is passed into law”.
By Thomas Fosu Jnr