Kingston, Jamaica (McKoy’s News) – Online Business Registration: The Government intends to put the necessary systems in place to facilitate the online registration of businesses by March next year.
This is to be undertaken through the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ), which is responsible for the registration of local and overseas companies, individuals and firms carrying on business in Jamaica.
Making the announcement, Minister of Industry, Commerce, Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Karl Samuda, noted that this initiative forms part of the Government’s effort to improve the country’s business environment.
The Minister was addressing a signing ceremony for an advisory agreement with World Bank subsidiary, International Finance Corporation (IFC), for the establishment of a national trade portal.
The event was held at the Ministry’s St. Lucia Avenue offices in New Kingston on December 19.
Establishment of the portal will make all regulatory trade-related information and other trade information useful to Jamaican importers and exporters, investors and potential investors easily and readily available on a single integrated website.
This will serve to increase transparency and predictability of trade procedures and, in doing so, increase the compliance level and reduce the cost of doing business through trade.
The Minister said the initiative will serve to “signal the degree to which we have joined the rest of the world… in (establishing) a portal that will provide information to the trading community (in one convenient space, which will save time and allow greater trade facilitation)”.
He noted that enabling online business registration will be the next step in the process of making doing business in Jamaica easier, which will also improve the country’s ranking in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report.
For her part, State Minister for Finance and the Public Service, Hon. Fayval Williams, said the signing “marks progress on the path to making trade a lot easier between us and our various partners”.
Mrs. Williams said the portal will help to greatly improve the trade facilitation environment, which she said entails the simplification and harmonisation of international trade procedures, and a comprehensive and integrated approach to reducing complexity and cost.
In her remarks, Head of Operations, IFC, Judith Green, noted that the entity has been supporting Jamaica for almost 55 years by promoting private-sector competitiveness and exploring ways to drive economic growth.
“Trade facilitation is a part of what we have been trying to do here for quite some time with the Government, and (this) agreement to look at the implementation of the trade portal is just another step towards it,” she said.
The portal will house information on the laws governing trade; facilitate tariff enquiries for commodity codes and other measures and procedures; list permits, licences and certificates required for imports and exports; indicate steps required for obtaining permits, licences and certificates required for imports and exports; list restrictions and prohibitions related to trade; list the government agencies involved in import and export; and list the fees and charges associated with trade in Jamaica.
Online Business Registration: When implemented, Jamaica will satisfy Article 1 of the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, requiring parties to ensure that trade information is public and available.