Registrar of Companies to strike off 500,000 defaulting entities
Over 503,100 defaulting companies and businesses names, including churches, will be struck off the register at the Office of Registrar of Companies (ORC) by the close of the year.
The sole proprietorship businesses constitute 500,000 with the churches being 3,100.
This is because the businesses have failed to file their annual returns and renew their certificates for more than three years in flagrant disregard for the Companies Act, 2019 (Act 992).
The ORC was decoupled from the Registrar-General's Department (RGD) by the Act as part of reforms to improve business registration in the country and create a conducive business environment.
The law indicates that all registered companies and sole proprietorship businesses are expected to file their annual returns and renew their certificates respectively at the end of every year, failure to do so results in the dissolution of the registered entity, according to the law.
The Registrar of Companies, ORC, Jemima Maama Oware, disclosed this at a meeting with some members of the Greater Accra Chapter of the Ghana Union Traders Association (GUTA) in Accra yesterday (Tuesday, November 7, 2023).
She warned defaulting businesses that “from next year, there will be an administrative penalty charge for companies in default amounting to GH¢300 for the company and each official of the company.”
The meeting was aimed at deliberating on pertinent issues affecting GUTA and sensitising businesses under the union to be in good standing before the ORC begins to clean up its register.
Mrs Oware further revealed that last year 2,788 out of 13,126 companies sampled were in default of filing their annual returns and were put in a state of inactivity for non-filing of returns for more than three years.
She expressed concern about the way some registered companies had failed to update their records since 1963 and said some of the directors and other stakeholders in those companies were even deceased but those entities had still not updated their records to help take out deceased names.
The registrar further explained that effective next year, all businesses and companies’ names “in our legacy Register will be given ample time to register and migrate their businesses onto an eRegister and at the lapse of the period those businesses will be taken through due process for struck off”.
She further announced that from next year, company inspectors would be conducting inspections of business certificates and other legal documents of businesses to bring defaulters to book.
“The office is on a quest to be fully automated with its registration and document processing. This means that there will no longer be manual walk-ins except for critical reasons requiring manual interventions," Mrs Oware added.
Touching on the yet-to-be-inaugurated 24-hour Prestige services, she explained that clients would be given a treat and although it would come as an additional cost to them, between 24 and 48 hours they should have their documents processed.
Mrs Oware cautioned the GUTA members and the general public against engaging the services of intermediaries (goro boys) which often did not end well for clients as they were defrauded.
“Kindly ignore calls and text messages purporting to be coming from the ORC demanding payment of mobile money transfer or risk your business name being taken out of the register," the registrar advised
The Chairman of the Greater Accra Chapter of GUTA, Nana Kwabena Peprah, for his part, expressed gratitude on behalf of the union for the interaction.
He noted that it had increased their knowledge about significant issues they overlooked in the past and called for more such interactions to enhance the smooth working relationship between traders and the ORC.
During the interaction, other members of GUTA appealed to the ORC to help address the challenges facing GUTA members, including the invasion of businesses by foreigners who possess companies registered in Ghanaian names.