More entities using online registration platform
The Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) is reporting a record number of entity registrations for last year; 27 per cent of which was done using its recently launched Electronic Business Registration
The record registration was achieved despite the COVID-19 pandemic and the temporary suspension of the agency’s business mobile initiative. Entrepreneurs and investors in 2020 registered 12,809 business names and 3,935 companies. This reflects an increase of 12 per cent for business names and three per cent for companies over the previous year, 2019.
CEO and Registrar Judith Ramlogan stated, “We expected an increase in the usage of the eBRF platform, given the pandemic. A lot of persons chose to go online because it was safer and more convenient. We, however, did not anticipate the significant increases in registration numbers, given the effect of the pandemic on the economy. The increase shows that persons have been pivoting to create employment for themselves, and they are choosing formalisation over informality.”
The top registration categories by entity types are construction, 275, and restaurants, bars and canteens, 1,343, for company and business, respectively. Ramlogan noted, “As an agency, we are happy that persons are choosing formalisation. We saw that during the pandemic entrepreneurs had access to a COVID-19 grant, which may have served as an incentive and driven home the point that registration is important.”
While admitting to some difficulties posed by the online system, Ramlogan indicated that the agency is aware of the issues and is treating its resolution as a matter of great urgency, “We acknowledge there are some issues that need to be worked out and we are putting in the resources to have them addressed. The registration platform, although only available for new entity registration at this time, will enable the agency to offer its full suite of services online in the near future. As the COJ continues to build it out incrementally, we continue to crave the understanding of our customers.”
The eBRF represents the electronic version of the COJ’s super form, which introduced the one-stop-shop approach to entity registrations, linking several crucial government agency systems.