About 50,000 companies that fail to file their returns by end of this month will be deactivated from the companies’ register and will have to go to court to be reactivated, according to the Registrar-General, Jemima Oware.
The directive applies to companies limited by shares, private unlimited companies, companies limited by guarantee and external companies, whether in business or out of business and registered since 2011.
The move is part of implementing the new Companies Act of 2019, Act 992, which is introducing stricter requirements aimed at sanitising the business registration space.
“After the deadline, we will put out the names of all those companies that have not complied, and let the whole world know before we strike. And once that happens, you cannot come back until you go through the court to bring you back onto the register,” she said.
She spoke during a sensitisation seminar on the new Companies Act, organised in collaboration with the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI), and added that after 12-years defaulters will be completely struck-off the register and put into a state of inactivity – making it illegal for them to carry out any business activity within the country.
Among other changes to the company registration, she said, companies will now have new suffixes at the end of their names, such as limited company (Ltd.) and public limited company (PLC), in order to make it easier for the general public to know what kind of company they are dealing with. All companies are also now required to have a constitution.
Others include hiring qualified company secretaries and a reduction in the age of starting a company from 21 to 18. The process for filling returns and registering a company have been simplified and can be done online by visiting the RGD website, she added.
She explained that the rationale behind this law is to bring sanity, improve corporate governance and clean-up the companies register.
CEO of the AGI, Seth Twum-Akwaboah, said the sensitisation is necessary to help its members improve their corporate governance practices, as well as align with the new provisions of the Act to ensure compliance.
“The Act, as it is, promotes good business practices, and it is important for all firms registered in Ghana to operate within the law. Today, trading within the African Continental Free Trade Area has begun, and for local businesses which may require foreign partnerships to augment production capacity, good governance practices could be one of the criteria in forging such partnerships.
“Our local businesses will also be better placed to integrate into the global economy if corporate governance standards are upheld. I urge AGI member-companies incorporated before 2012 and which have still not complied with the re-registration directive to quickly do so, before the deadline elapses,” Mr. Akwaboah said.
He commended the Registrar-General’s Department for the steps taken toward enhancing online business registration, and urged members to explore the business registration portal on the Registrar-General’s website. The seminar on the New Company’s Act is one among a series of sensitisation seminars the AGI intends organising for its members across Ghana in the coming weeks.