The Registrar General, Jemima Oware has said that more than 670,000 businesses in the country will have their names struck out from the companies register if they do not file their returns with the Registrar General’s Department (RGD).
The Company’s Act requires that all registered business re-register and file their returns with the RGD to attest that they are in continuous operations or are still in existence. However, the RGD’s data show that only about 10 percent of registered companies have done so.
This, Mrs. Oware says, has over-bloated the business register and given false impression about the number of active establishments doing serious business in the country, thereby, affecting the accuracy of statistical data.
“We have been talking about companies being re-registered or coming into the new database for some time now. So I am kick-starting the provisions in the act where I will put out notices asking these businesses to come and re-register within two months.
If after two months they have not come, we will send another notice giving them another two months. If after that, they still haven’t come, we will give them a third notice and that notice will give three months within which you should update me on the company.
And after that three months if you still don’t come, we will strike it out of the register, and that means you are off till the next 12 years; you cannot do any business in Ghana. This should have been done long ago, and it is because we have not done this that is why you see this over-bloated register that says over a million people are doing serious business in Ghana when in actual fact it is just about 200,000,” she told B&FT in a stakeholder workshop on the new Companies Act organized by the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvent Advisors (GARIA).
Some in the business community, however, have expressed misgivings about the news, arguing, the RGD must give them more time, especially when filling the returns late comes with some penalties.
But commenting on this, President of GARIA, Felix Addo, backed the RGD for the action it wants to take, saying, it is necessary as it would lead to good corporate governance practices.
“GARIA wants good corporate governance and if this would help clean up our register then we support that idea. Some people have registered companies for Visa purposes, marriage, and other objects which are not in tune with the Companies Act, so we are definitely in support of that. Clean the register up so that we have genuine viable companies in the register,” he said.