JIS News

The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) is moving to streamline its services to make it easier for clients to do certain transactions.
COJ’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Registrar, Judith Ramlogan, tells JIS News that the entity will soon be able to offer clients the option of electronically registering certain documents online.
“We are in the midst of upgrading the website so that we can offer to our customers, certain registration services online,” she says.
She tells JIS News that the online services, which should roll out during the next financial year, or very early in the following year, include the registration of companies and business names, and registration of notice of company secretary and registered office notice.
The CEO informed however that the COJ is “in the midst of discussions with certain other Government agencies, concerning the registration of new companies,” noting that it is subsequent to these discussions that the COJ will be able to proceed with this online service.
Already, the COJ offers online search services at its website www.orcjamaica.com, and since November last year, the company has been able to accept international credit cards for search services.
The company has converted all its manual files to digitised images, so that all the information available at the office can be accessed over the web.
Turning to other measures, the CEO informs that “we are in the midst of reviewing our legislative forms so that they become simpler, shorter, less complex to be completed by the man in the street.” The move, she says, is in response to difficulties voiced by clients in relation to completing certain forms.
Also in the pipeline, is the amendment of the Companies Act to make the process simpler for the registration of documents.
In the meantime, Mrs. Ramlogan made a plea for clients to be more compliant with their statutory obligations under the Companies Act. Recently, the COJ launched a three-month amnesty programme for charitable groups, which runs from September 1 to November 30.
“The COJ is concerned for its clients, and we understand that the recession has hit everybody hard, but we are just beseeching our clients to be more compliant with their obligations under the Companies Act, for their own sake,” she says.
She points out that an overseas body, doing business with a local company, “might want to know that the (local) company is compliant with its statutory obligations, whether it exhibits good corporate governance, and one of the places that they will check, is the COJ. If the company is not compliant, then that might change the mind of that overseas company.”
The Companies Office of Jamaica, an executive agency of the Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce, is responsible for registering and regulating local and overseas companies, industrial and provident societies and individuals carrying on business in Jamaica.
In addition to maintaining accurate and up-to-date records on commercial entities, the COJ actively encourages voluntary compliance of companies and businesses with the Companies Act of 2004, the Registration of Business Names Act of 1934 and the Industrial and Provident Societies Act of 1903.

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