Judith Ramlogan, CEO and registrar of the Companies Office of Jamaica.
Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) says the numbers for business registration and company incorporation in 2021 significantly eclipsed that of the previous year by 33 per cent and 24 per cent respectively.
In a statement Thursday, CEO Judith Ramlogan said she was not surprised at the 17,039 businesses and 4,878 companies registered in 2021 as the uptick in formalisation is “as a result of the economy and more persons realising that formalisation offers them legitimacy for whatever entrepreneurial pursuits they will be undertaking now and in the future”.
In alluding to a September 2021 report of the Ministry of Finance and Planning and the Development Bank of Jamaica partnering to offer a $3 billion loan and grant facility for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) impacted by COVID-19, Ramlogan noted that “many are seeing formalisation as a way to improve access to loans and grants because now investors and lenders will see them as legitimate, serious and viable. Some may presently be using their savings to finance their start-ups but are thinking expansion and as such, they are preparing themselves for opportunities. While not surprised, we are excited that Jamaican entrepreneurs are positioning themselves for growth”.
During the pandemic, the COJ saw increased usage of its online registration platform with an increase from 27 per cent in 2020 to 39 per cent in 2021 for business registration. This, Ramlogan indicated is a move in the right direction for the agency's post-pandemic vision.
“For the last year, we have been focusing our efforts to ensure that the online facilities are more consistently available. In addition, more human resources were provided for IT support purposes. We are seeing more users and less complaints and we are pleased to be meeting the needs of entrepreneurs in this respect,” Ramlogan noted.
Like Ramlogan, International Business Trainer and Coach and Business Writer Yaneek Page, in welcoming the increase in business formalisation, indicated that the upward move is consistent with global statistics and the opportunities presented by the pandemic to create small and efficient operations.
“In terms of work from home, digitisation and digital transformation, the uptake of AI (artificial intelligence) and how it is that folks are now able to create business operations that are very lean. It does not require a lot of physical manpower and human resources and they are able to deliver services and products to their customers digitally. I think that the ease of operation is certainly one of the driving forces,” Page indicated.
With more persons leaving their jobs in a trend dubbed the 'Great Resignation', Page noted that the increased registration numbers may continue until persons can return to face-to-face activities but for now “the pandemic has caused many persons to reflect on what is happening in their personal lives and how they are creating balance with their family life”.
While data from the COJ indicated that there are more than 69,000 active companies and upwards of 200,000 businesses on the register, the agency's CEO is reminding entrepreneurs to be vigilant in managing their businesses.
“Entrepreneurs often tend to stop at registration and neglect the post-registration obligations such as renewing the business certificate every three years and ensuring that their companies file annual returns with the COJ. We are encouraging them to maintain proper records and file those obligations on time. We want them to succeed but they must also realise that formalisation is a legal status and compliance is a part of the reality,” Ramlogan noted.
Source: Jamaica Observer
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