President assents new Companies Act

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has given presidential assent to the new Companies’ Act to replace the old version which was enacted in 1963.

The President announced this at the Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors presidential fundraising dinner on Saturday.

He was optimistic that the new Act would improve significantly, the ease of doing business in the country, enhance the corporate regulatory and governance framework, and reduce the cost of ensuring compliance for businesses.

The Companies Act (Act 179 of 1963) has, until recently, not been thoroughly revised to address the challenges of modern times.

In 2008, under the presidency of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the Business Law Reform Committee of Experts was established.

The committee made innovative policy recommendations for the reform of the Companies Act, recommendations which did not find its way to Parliament.

“So, you can appreciate my understandable elation when, as part of my government’s programme for improving the ease of doing business in Ghana, Parliament passed a new Companies Act, on  May 2, 2019, replacing the 1963 Act”.

“So, we now have the Companies Act, 2019, to which, by the grace of God, I assented to yesterday, 2nd August, 2019. The process of enactment is now complete,” President Akufo-Addo said.

He thanked the Attorney General and her drafting team, the Committee of Experts, chaired by the well-respected jurist, the former Supreme Court judge, Mr Justice Date-Bah, the Speaker and Members of Parliament, and all other stakeholders, including the World Bank, the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC), and friends of Ghana, for their efforts which led to the passage of the new law. 

He, however, admitted that more needed to be done to complete the country’s business reform agenda and added that the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Bill, which was currently before Parliament, would, amongst others, provide the avenue to help resuscitate distressed, but viable business entities and establishments from liquidation and their ramifications.

With the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and with Ghana playing host to the secretariat, the President indicated that the country was going to be the hub for African trade and investment.

That, he said, would bring more jobs, expanded conferencing and hospitality services, enhanced aviation and other transportation services, and related allied businesses.

“Consequently, the timing of our business law reforms could not have been more propitious,” he added.

President Akufo-Addo launched the GARIA Trust Fund which is designed to be the principal financing vehicle for GARIA, and will be managed by an independent board of trustees.

“I am going to ask the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, and Business Development to see to what extent they can properly assist the Fund. In the meanwhile, I am personally donating GH¢50,000 as my modest contribution to the Fund,” he added.

By Yaw Kyei                                             

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