GARIA on course for statutory status – Prez Akufo-Addo

Reading cornerstone for inclusive, equitable society - Akufo-Addo

Work has begun in earnest to present a piece of legislation to Parliament by the middle of December to elevate the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors (GARIA) to a statutory body, President Akufo-Addo has revealed.

This, he said, is consistent with Section 171 of the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act, 2020 (Act 1015), which was signed into law in April 2020 and stipulates that within two years of the coming to force of the law, GARIA – an association of corporate restructuring, business recovery and insolvency advisory professionals – attains the status.

The president disclosed this in a speech read on his behalf by the Attorney General of the Republic and Minister of Justice, Godfred Yeboah Dame, at the second GARIA Presidential Fundraising and Awards night – where he said the move is in line with GARIA’s primary objective of playing a leadership role in developing an efficient regime to tackle corporate insolvency and restructuring, as well as enhance corporate governance.

“Section 171 of act 1015 instructs us that within two years of the law coming into force, the attorney general will ensure it attains the status of a statutory body under the authority of an act of parliament,” the president explained. “I am happy to inform you that the Attorney General’s office has commenced work in this regard, and indeed we will conclude by the middle of December 2021.”

President Akufo-Addo remarked that passage of the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act (CIRA) is another chapter in the long list of business-centric initiatives undertaken under his administration, adding that it could not have been more opportune in light of the ongoing pandemic.

“The passage of act 1015 represented a big shot in the arm of my government’s commitment to improving the ease of doing business. It couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time, as most businesses and indeed economies the world over are facing challenges due to COVID-19,” he said.

Speaking on the event’s sidelines to B&FT, the president of GARIA, Felix Addo, welcomed the development, noting that it will allow for standardisation of the insolvency and restructuring ecosystem. “I am excited about it; despite the delays of COVID-19 we are on course. As it stands, GARIA has been a professional association voluntarily and we did not have the force of law until the passing of CIRA; with the new status in view, we will be able to regulate the space,” he said.

The night, which had as its theme ‘The Corporate Insolvency and Restructuring Act: A Vital Lifeline for Distressed Businesses amid COVID-19’, had three primary objectives: to celebrate the passage of CIRA; relaunch GARIA Trust Fund; and recognise the contribution of three founding council members of GARIA, which was formed in 2006.

The Fund, first launched two years ago, was designed to be the principal financing vehicle for GARIA, which had so far had to rely on erratic funding from subscriptions from its membership, foundation members, development partners and the erstwhile Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC) Fund, among others.

The three founding council members of GARIA recognised for their immense contributions were Justice Therese Striggner Scott; Prof. Samuel Nunoo Woode; and Madam Aurora Lokko.

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