JIS News

Chief Executive Officer of the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC), Judith Ramlogan is reporting earnings of approximately $45 million over the period of an amnesty, which lasted from November 18, 2004 to February 14, 2005.
“The amnesty was quite successful. Companies really took advantage of it,” she noted. She informed that from November 18 to January 21, a total of 28,788 annual returns were filed, which far exceeded the office’s projections for the year. Under the amnesty, some documents could be filed at a reduced fee, with late fees being waived. Mrs. Ramlogan was speaking recently at a JIS ‘Think Tank’, which was held at the JIS headquarters on Half-Way-Tree Road.
Part of the machinery used to facilitate compliance, she said, was the use of mini mobile units throughout the rural parishes of Jamaica. “There are some companies in rural Jamaica that do not have the time or the inclination to travel to Kingston. So we try to go out to our customers in the rural areas, every month a different parish, so that persons can take advantage of some of our services, without having to come to Kingston,” she pointed out.
She noted that the mini mobile initiative held in January alone, targeting southern and western parishes, resulted in a collection of $1.5 million.
One spill-over effect of the amnesty, Mrs. Ramlogan told the session, was the continued momentum of persons coming into the ORC to get their documents updated. Traffic at the ORC, after the amnesty, was about 20 per cent higher than normal levels, she said.Mrs. Ramlogan noted that during the last extension of the amnesty, from January 28 to February 14, the ORC had stipulated that persons interested in taking advantage of that extended period, needed to indicate this to the office in writing. Consequently, some 1,100 requests were received.
Turning to the new Companies Act, which came into force on February 1, she pointed out that the ORC hoped to embark on a training programme involving the nation’s judges, to help them to understand the new regulations as they pertain to the disqualification of Directors.
“There are new services which will involve the courts, for example the disqualification of Directors… And so the ORC has to work with the court system to make sure that the courts are au fait with the law, when applications for disqualification come before them,” she noted. The CEO hopes to see this training programme begin later this year.
Mrs. Ramlogan pointed out however, that while there have not yet been any applications for the disqualification of Directors, there have been enquiries into the procedure.
In the response to new services offered by the ORC, she noted that persons have begun to take advantage of company name reservation, which could be done for a period of 90 days, and company restoration – a process which previously required application to the courts.
Mrs. Ramlogan also disclosed that further to the implementation of the new Companies Act, there would be indepth reviews and close examinations of its workings, at the end of which any necessary amendments would be made.
The response of the business community to the Act, she noted, has been very positive.

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