Companies Office of Jamaica to Facilitate 24-Hour Online Business Registration From Any Location
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), Judith Ramlogan, says the entity is looking to embark on the next phase of its programme of technology-based value-added customer service delivery.
This follows Wednesday’s (August 7) launch of the innovative Electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) by Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, at The Jamaica Pegasus hotel in New Kingston.
The eBRF will facilitate 24-hour online business registration from any location globally via the COJ’s website – www.orcjamaica.com.
The initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Cabinet Office, under the Public Sector Transformation and Modernisation Programme, with Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) funding support.
Mrs. Ramlogan said the COJ will be focusing on introducing other electronic forms. They include the annual returns form and change form.
These, she added, are expected to significantly assist customers to become more compliant with their statutory obligations, and aid businesses in adopting better corporate governance practices, while serving to reduce delinquencies.
“This (eBRF) platform is only the start to facilitating customers in a value-added way, where the advantages are not just perceived but actual. The establishment of the Electronic Business Registration Form… sets the foundation on which to build an online facility that is sustainable and modern,” she said.
Mrs. Ramlogan pointed out that the eBRF represents a marked improvement on the ‘one-stop-shop’ business registration ‘superform’, which the COJ introduced in 2014.
She noted that the form reduced the multiplicity of agencies which clients needed to visit when registering businesses, resulting in significantly improved transaction turnaround time and lower costs.
Consequently, the CEO said approximately 50,000 business names and 14,000 companies have, to date, been registered since the superform’s introduction.
Mrs. Ramlogan further indicated that business name registrations rose from 7,163 in 2013 to 10,199 in 2018, while company incorporations climbed from 1,948 to 3,159 over the same period.
This has contributed to Jamaica being ranked sixth globally in the Ease of Starting a Business on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Survey.
Mrs. Ramlogan said this ranking means that Jamaica has been “outpacing several other countries that are more developed and have access to greater resources.”
“This is significant, as it is a testament that the Government takes business seriously and is committed to making continuous improvements to allow for greater efficiency. It is something that we can all be proud of,” she added.
In this regard, Mrs. Ramlogan said the eBRF is expected to assist in alleviating challenges, such as space limitations at the COJ’s New Kingston office by serving as a “point of engagement” for clients.
“Consider it an extension of the agency’s opening hours and the Companies Office of Jamaica setting up office whenever and wherever you have the time. With this intuitive design, the electronic business registration form is about customer convenience and the efficiency of government services,” she further stated.
The CEO also expressed gratitude for the wide-ranging stakeholders’ contribution to the process.
They include: the Cabinet Office; IDB; World Bank; Ministry of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries; Ministry of Labour and Social Security; eGov Jamaica Limited; Tax Administration Jamaica; National Housing Trust; and HEART Trust/NTA.
“The Companies Office of Jamaica prides itself on being a part of the initiatives that will [serve to further] improve the country’s ranking. It is our aim to deliver world class service to our customers… and there is no doubt that the introduction of the electronic business registration form will provide our customers with an efficient registration facility,” Mrs. Ramlogan said.
This, she added, “should provide them with an incentive to do business in Jamaica, thus making Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business.”