The new Companies Act, 2019 no longer requires companies to acquire a certificate before the commencement of business after registration has been done, a former Supreme Court judge, Professor Justice Samuel Date-Baah, has said.
This he said was a step in the right direction as it would enhance the ease of doing business in the country.
Prof Justice Date-Baah disclosed this at a breakfast meeting for chief executives (CEOs) organised by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Ghana.
Dubbed ICC@100 CEO’s Breakfast meeting, which also marks the centenary celebration of ICC worldwide, the programme was meant to brief the CEOs on the new Companies Act, 2019 which is an amendment of the Companies Act, 1963.
Prof Justice Date-Baah, the Chair of the Commission on Company Law Reform in Ghana, who reviewed the new Companies Act, 2019 said the Companies Act which has been passed by Parliament and is currently waiting for the presidential assent was amended to meet current realities and address weaknesses in the 56-year-old law.
The former Supreme Court judge, among others, said the issue of objects had been expunged from the new law so as to enhance flexibility in doing business in Ghana, saying that “the intention is to treat companies like a natural person with the flexibility to change from one business to the other, for instance moving from selling of fish to meat”.
He said to promote the influence of shareholders, certain transactions characterised as major would require a special resolution before companies could validly enter into such transactions.
The former Supreme Court judge said the new Companies Act required companies to rotate auditors and that company secretaries must have specified qualifications, adding that the name company regulations had been changed to company constitution.
To combat corruption and enhance transparency in the operations of companies, beneficial ownership clause had been introduced in the new Companies Act to make it mandatory for businesses to disclose the owners of the company.
The Minister of Business Development, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim Awal, the special guest, who launched the centenary celebration of ICC entreated business owners to maintain discipline to ensure the success and survival of their business.
He opined that more that more than 75 per cent of businesses did not survive before the demise of the founder of the business.
The minister disclosed that government had reserved 20 percent of spaces for women on boards of public corporations and organisations as a means of empowering women in the country.
Dr Awal indicated that thirty per cent of businesses in the country were owned by women below 35 years and it was in that direction that government was providing financial support for companies to thrive.
The Secretary General of ICC Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame said ICC is the world’s largest business organisation with a network of over 6.5 million members in more than 130 countries and also with a United Nations observer status.
He said the functions of ICC were to promote open cross border trade and investment, provide the rules and standards that govern international business and the provision of world class dispute resolution service.
Mr Doni-Kwame said ICC Ghana had well delivered on its mandate of promoting international trade and settling trade disputes in the country.
He disclosed that ICC would launch its trade rules which define the responsibilities of buyers and sellers in international trade.
By Kingsley Asare