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The west welcomes Companies Office new branch

Published:Tuesday | November 1, 2016 | 11:00 AMClaudia Gardner

Residents in Western Jamaica are expressing relief that a permanent branch of the Companies Office of Jamaica (CoJ) has finally been established in western Jamaica, to serve its clients in the region.

The office was officially opened on Monday October 10, at premises at 10 Delisser Drive, in Montego Bay which also houses the Office of the Prime Minister West.

According to Kawain Fearon, Public Relations Officer at the CoJ, the western branch will "be a cashless office" and will be accepting only credit/debit cards and manager's cheques at present. Payments can also be made to the CoJ's bank account and the receipt submitted to the office when filing documents.

Among those welcoming the new developments is parish manager of the Hanover Branch of the Jamaica Agricultural Society, Kameil Scott. Data from the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC) had shown in February 2015, that 41 per cent of the businesses in Hanover, had no exposure to entrepreneurship, 91 per cent had no business plans and 62 per cent were not registered to collect general consumption tax.

"It will be much easier for entrepreneurs, as persons will be more willing to go in to register their businesses because they don't have the hassle of having to travel all that distance to Kingston to register. Many businesses in the west are unregistered because there was only one location, which was in Kingston," Scott said.

 

HESITANT

 

"Young people who are venturing into business do not register because a lot of them do not know Kingston. People were hesitant to leave their own little parish even though registration is a requirement by the government. In order to get the word out, the CoJ could promote it in the media and they could visit the various parishes and check for registration of businesses, and for those that are unregistered, give them some time to comply," she added.

The establishment of the office comes one year after President of the Montego Bay Chamber of Commerce, Gloria Henry, bemoaned the lack of commerce-related state agencies including the CoJ, within the western city, despite it being "the only section of the country that is growing".

At the time, she said the absence of key agencies like the Companies Office of Jamaica, was hampering the start-up of new businesses and stifling established enterprises in the region, which had now become the 'growth engine of Jamaica'.

For Dwayne Clayton, businessman and operator of coastline maintenance company, Beach Pro-tech, the move is a welcome one.

"It is a good move. For me, it will be easier for me to file my documents, because it is in my driving range - I pass it every day. It is also better for small and large businesses to access registration as opposed to going to Kingston," Clayton said.