Companies Office expands to Montego Bay
With the growing list of registered businesses, the Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) has set up a regional branch to serve western parishes, says CEO and registrar of companies Judith Ramlogan.
"For some time now, our customers in the western end of the island have been clamouring for an office to be opened there because they feel it is unfair that there is only one office, which is in Kingston," Ramlogan said of the move to service that section of the island.
The new office should remove the inconvenience of having to travel to Kingston to conduct business, she said. It should have been opened on October 3, but was delayed by Hurricane Matthew. It is now set launch operations on Monday, October 10.
Located at 10 Delisser Drive in Montego Bay, COJ's second outlet will share space provided by the western offices of the Office of the Prime Minister.
The Companies Office will start with a small team, "because we are not sure what the take-up will be, so for now, we will only have four," said Ramlogan.
The registration process for applications from the regional office will be completed in Kingston, but the certificates will be printed in Montego Bay, she said.
The western office will not accommodate cash transactions, but will accept debit credit cards.
"We expect to get some efficiency gains from our use of technology in Montego Bay as well," Ramlogan said.
The new office was expected to cost $10 million, but Ramlogan indicated that the project was finalised for less.
So far in 2016, some 6,893 business names 1,752 companies have been registered by Companies Office of Jamaica.
In 2015, registrations rose 25 per cent over the previous year to 8,776 business names and 2,227 companies.
An online registration service should also come on stream by March 2017, Ramlogan said.
"There are some online services but not registration. For instance, if you want a letter of good standing or if you want certified copies, you can order those online but you can't register," she said.
The Companies Office also does regular mobile outreach outside of Kingston to take its services to business operators.
"Every other month, we go to some other parish. Montego Bay was serviced twice for the year," said the registrar.