The new business registration form or super form comes into effect on January 2, 2014 to replace the old system whereby individuals visit multiple government agencies to incorporate a company or register a business name.
The multipurpose registration form provides a single regis-tration window, or 'one-stop shop', and will be housed at the Companies Office of Jamaica in New Kingston.
The super form is expected to eliminate the frustration for members of the micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) of having to visit multiple agencies to complete the registration process.
It should also, by the reckoning of Minster of Industry, Investment and Commerce Anthony Hylton, improve the nation's ranking in the World Bank's Doing Business Report and assist the country in attracting foreign direct investment.
Jamaica ranks 23 out of 189 economies to incorporate and register a new firm. The country stands at 94 in the overall ranking.
"With the introduction of the super form, you save time and cost as it eliminates the need to visit multiple agencies to process a taxpayer registration number, national insurance scheme number, and general consumption tax and National Housing Trust require-ments, or procure clearance letters," Hylton said at a press briefing in New Kingston last week.
"The super form represents a quantum leap in improving the business environment and increasing competitiveness. The implementation of the form and other aspects of the business-reform agenda underscores the Government's commitment to transforming service delivery," Hylton said.
The legislative reform forms part of the Government's agenda to enhance the investment environment and spur entrepreneurship locally, as well as to adhere to time-bound structural benchmarks agreed with the International Monetary Fund.
The Security and Interests in Personal Property Act (SIPP) is also aimed at improving the local business environment.
SIPP provides for a secured transaction framework to facilitate improved access to credit through the inclusion of movable property as allowable forms of collateral.
The act allows for the use of assets such as motor vehicles, stocks and securities, machinery and equipment and agricultural products such as livestock and crops, future crops and unborn livestock to be used as collateral, the minister said.
"Financing for MSMEs has been limited as many are viewed by creditors as high-risk, especially in an environment where non-traditional collateral was not recognized. SIPP changes that and will undoubtedly lead to the creation of a more robust and dynamic MSME sector," he said.
The National Collateral Registry will accompany the SIPP and is also intended to facilitate MSMEs.
Hylton said the National Collateral Registry is designed to improve commerce by expanding access to domestic credit while at the same time minimise the risks of loan default.
Financial institutions will register notices of loans granted and the associated assets used as collateral. The availability of this information in a central database will enable institutions to verify any previous use of the potential collateral and establish priority with regard to other claimants on the same asset, the minister said.