The decoupling of the Office of the Registrar of Companies in the new Companies Act 2019 (Act 992) will ensure the needed delivery of quality service for the good of the business community, the Registrar-General, Mrs Jemima Oware, has said.
She said the act established the Office of the Registrar of Companies as a separate body with financial autonomy.
At a forum dubbed: Meet-The-Regulator series-edition 10, organised by Ernst and Young Ghana, an international accounting and audit firm, in Accra on October 16, she said “since a new office will be set up, we now have to make sure that we have the building in place, the structure, the upgraded software and get our forms changed complying with what the Companies Act is currently stating”.
“We are bracing ourselves with the fact that we will get financial autonomy, so we are expecting to use internally generated funds (IGF) to carry out all these changes.
“The law is very clear we have financial autonomy; we are supposed to retain our IGF but it is not going to be everything because whatever remains goes back to the government,” she said.
Electronic system upgrade
Mrs Oware added that the Office of the Registrar-General wanted to save customers from the stress of doing business, where they stood in the hot sun and formed long queues just to register their businesses.
“We want them to sit in the comfort of their homes and carry out their businesses, so definitely a software or the upgraded system is going to be put in place.
“That will be more efficient; we will have certificates that possibly have an embedded chip inside to cut down the fraud going on,” she noted.
She urged people to feel comfortable to sit at home end-to-end and register businesses or pay for services online.
“It is going to improve our processes because currently, we are having issues and this whole idea is to make it better and user-friendly.
Register of members
Mrs Oware said currently, most companies did not have the register of members detailing who their members were, “yet they keep on coming to my office”.
“Every company needs a register of members and any changes in the shareholding structure should be recorded in that register of members,” she stated.
She added that the Registrar-General should be informed by companies whenever annual returns were being filed at the end of their financial year.
"If you are doing it before the financial year ends, you must make sure that the processes that the code of the act has spelt out with regard to change of shareholders are captured in the register of members that should take place at the Registrar of Companies before it comes to my office,” she noted.
Old act, new act
The Director of Technical and Research at the Institute of Chartered Accountancy Ghana (ICAG), Mr Osei Adjaye-Gyamfi, who justified the need for the new act, compared the Companies Act of 1963 (Act 179) with the current one, Act 992, and said for instance that “in the old act, there was no maximum term of office for an auditor”.
However, in the new one, he said the act made it clear in Section 139 (11) (b) that, “An auditor shall hold office for a term of not more than six years and is eligible for appointment after a cooling off period of not less than six years.”