JIS News

Revenues collected by the Office of the Registrar of Companies (ORC) for the 2004/2005 fiscal year amounted to $158 million, exceeding the company’s budget expectations.
This was disclosed in Ministry Paper 46, which was tabled by Commerce, Science and Technology Minister, Phillip Paulwell in the House of Representatives, on Wednesday (June 1). The document discussed the performance of the company for 2004/05 and its focus for the 2005/06 fiscal year.
The document noted that the company’s revenue for the year was 48 per cent above the budget, while expenditure for the same period was $119.4 million, which was 5.2 per cent above projections.
Meanwhile the document outlined achievements for the company in several areas, including registration services, implementation of the Document Processing Management Information System (DPMIS) software, public education, staff training, a successful amnesty period, and a website.
Despite focus on the implementation of the new Companies Act and the DPMIS, the ORC did not revise any of its registration turnaround times for guaranteed services during the 2004/05 financial year and was able to maintain all turnaround times.
In respect to the DPMIS it was noted that all modules of the software had been implemented except for the Business Registration Module. At the end of the second quarter however, although the module had been completed, the presence of glitches in the system prevented full testing.
No further work was undertaken on the software except for the completion of several back end screens and the creation of a Name Reservation Screen to facilitate this new service under the Act. In the area of public education, the ORC convened a public education and communications team to operationalise the public education aspect of the implementation plan for the Companies Act. The agency was able to retain media support by engaging the services of the Jamaica Information Service (JIS) to assist in its public education effort. Brochures, posters and pamphlets on various aspects of the new Act were prepared and distributed.
The Agency made several presentations on the new provisions of the Act at seminars hosted by professional groups such as the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Jamaica, the Association of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Jamaica and the Jamaican Bar Association, as well as to interest groups such as the Rotary Club.
In addition the ORC convened meetings with its larger and more regular customers to discuss the new forms and regulations to be devised in accordance with the new Act.
On the matter of staff training, the ORC developed a training plan as part of its general implementation plan. Training on broad aspects of the Companies Act was provided to over 70 officers by the agency’s legal staff along with external presenters.
In November 2004, the ORC Amnesty was announced and during the period companies with outstanding annual returns were allowed to file them at a reduced cost and there was a waiver of the late fees on those documents.
The Ministry Paper noted that public response to the amnesty was overwhelming and subsequently in late December 2004, an extension through January 31, 2005 was announced.
For the period November 18, 2004 to January 31, 2005, companies filed 27,277 annual returns and the agency earned approximately $43 million in revenues.
The use of the ORC website grew beyond projections with the volume of subscribers to the site numbering 485 at the end of the period. This was 94 per cent above target.
Some of the Agency’s programmes for the 2005/2006 fiscal year include: maintenance of guaranteed registration and search services to customers; implementation of the re-engineered Image Management System – the Document Processing Management Information System (DPMIS); facilitation of amendments to the Companies Act 2004; staff training on the new provisions of the Act; and public education to build awareness of the Companies Act 2004 and the services provided by the agency.
The ORC will also seek to, improve the management of its original records; improve financial performance through the implementation of strict cost containment measures and new value added services; and facilitate the amendment of the Registration of Business Names Act.

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