Close to 500,000 companies operating illegally

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Registrar of Companies
Jemima M. Oware, the Registrar of Companies
  • as President Akufo-Addo launches ORC

The newly launched Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) is set to delete close to 500,000 companies from its database for not renewing their existence following the expiration of their registration, the Registrar of Companies, Jemima M. Oware, disclosed.

The exercise, Ms. Oware explained, would encourage good corporate governance, as well as reduce the use of companies for ‘criminal activities’.

“The companies inspectors will go out and fish out all those companies so we have a clean register per legislation. [Hence], companies need to know that it is not going to be business as usual…that you will register a company and sit in the register for 15—20 years without filing a return or renewing or re-registering,” she stated during a media soirée with selected media houses last week. “This time we are going all out to take those companies off.”

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, who officially launched the ORC, called for support for the newly established office as it assumes the administration and registration of companies and all businesses in the country.

An autonomous statutory body weaned from the Registrar-General’s Department, the ORC is to register and regulate all types of business entities in the country, such as private-public companies limited and unlimited by shares, private-public companies limited by guarantee, including churches, schools, NGOs, CSOs, associations, unions, external companies and professional bodies, in conformity with the Companies Act (Act 992) and other relevant enactments.

Speaking during an event to launch the office in Accra on Friday, July 22, 2022, President Akufo-Addo described the coming into force of the ORC as a huge ‘milestone’ in the country’s fight against bribery and corruption.

“After a 15-year wait, the office of the Registrar of companies is finally ready to take charge of the administration and the registration of companies. It is a moment of considerable satisfaction for me because I had the pleasure of consenting to the long-awaited Ghana Company Act, 2019,” he stated.

He added: “The Act separated the Office of the Registrar of companies from the Registrar General’s Department, taking up solely the duties of company registration and advisory services. And thankfully, we are here.”

On her part, the Registrar of Companies, Ms. Oware, said the vacuum created by the absence of the ORC contributed to the weak system of supervision of companies in the country. “Therefore, the setting up of the ORC is welcome news that’s going to bring dynamism to the business environment,” she said.

The ORC, she added, would further ensure a solid backbone of information for investors, creditors, and government; provide accurate data for forecasting and planning, as well as develop a support system that provides speedy information for policy formulation.

“The establishment of the ORC will afford the opportunity for a more efficient registry solely focused on business registration and its processes,” she stated.

About the Registrar of Companies

Registrars of Companies (ROC), appointed under Section 609 of the Companies Act, covering the various States and Union Territories, are vested with the primary duty of registering companies and LLPs floated in the respective states and the Union Territories, and ensuring that such companies and LLPs comply with statutory requirements under the Act.

The offices operate as a registry of records relating to the companies registered with them, which are made available for inspection by members of the public on payment of the prescribed fee. Government, on its part, exercises administrative control over these offices through the respective Regional Directors.

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