TIN No Longer Prerequisite For Business Registration

Tax Identification Number (TIN) will no longer be a prerequisite for the upfront registration of a business, beginning from January 2019, the Registrar-General, Mrs Jemimah Oware, has disclosed.

Rather, she said, the provision of a digital address would become the new requirement for the registration of businesses.

“This is because the global positioning system (GPS) will indicate to metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) where businesses are located, so that local government officials can follow up and give businesses operating licences.

"I want to state that beginning next year, only foreigners will require a TIN to register their businesses because our digital platform is being fused with that of the Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA), the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) and metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs)," she said.

In an interview with the Daily Graphic on the sidelines of a high-level dialogue on good corporate governance in Accra yesterday, Mrs Oware said the provision of a digital address would become the new requirement for the registration of businesses.

That, she said was "because the GPS system will indicate the MMDA where the business is located, so that local government officials can follow up and give a business operating licence".

New Companies Act

She also hinted that the current Companies Act, 1963, would be replaced with a new one by the end of the year, a move that was geared towards removing bottlenecks in the old system and making things easier, going forward.

For instance, she said the new regime would set up the Office of the Registrar-General and make it an autonomous body to function properly.

“The bill for the new Companies Act has been approved by Cabinet, as well as the Committee on Constitutional and Legal Affairs of Parliament. We have done the clause-to-clause reading and the bill is now with the Ministry of Justice to be sent back to the floor of Parliament for the second and third readings.

“We are trusting that it will be passed into law by the end of the year,” she said.

Mrs Oware said one of the outstanding features of the new act was the provision made in it for the establishment of the Office of the Registrar of Companies which was to be financially autonomous.

She said that office would be taken out from the Registrar-Generals’ Department and be made an autonomous body with a board drawn from skilled entities such as the Ministry of Justice, the Ghana Bar Association (GBA), academia and the Institute of Chartered Accountants, Ghana (ICAG).

“There are a lot of punitive and enforcement mechanisms in the bill as well, so the Office of the Registrar will ensure that due procedure is followed for efficient conduct of business,” she said.

She said the new act would, among other things, do away with commissioners of oath, minimum equity requirement and requirements for objects of registration.

“The Companies Bill has also done away with the provision of a constitution as a requirement for registering a business and you do not need any object too; and this will facilitate the registration process.

 “The act will also ensure that the Inspectorate Division of the Registrar-General’s Department will be revamped to go out to enforce regulations under the Companies Act,” she said.

Appointment to boards

In a panel discussion at the dialogue session, the President of the Institute of Directors, Ghana, Mr Rockson Kwesi Dogbegah, advocated the passing of legislation that would require persons to be trained and certified before they were appointed to the boards of public and corporate institutions.

He said it was through that means that professional standards and integrity could be brought into corporate governance and also address corrupt practices.

“For political and other parochial interests, people are appointed to boards of public institutions in particular without following due processes or doing background checks on them, leading to square pegs in round holes.

“So there should be legislation that will say that before anyone is appointed, he or she should be trained and certified,” he said.

Goro Boys

The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Private Enterprises Federation (PEF), Nana Osei-Bonsu, bemoaned the negative effects the activities of third parties, popularly called “goro boys”, had on the registration of businesses, saying that the time had come to deal decisively with the situation.

“If the rules of engagement at the Registrar-General’s Department were efficient and service delivery up to speed, the ‘goro boys’ would not be operating and making money from the public,” he said.

He called on people holding positions of trust to see those offices as such and act in ways that would not impede the delivery of services to the public.