Source: The National

 By BOSORINA ROBBY
ONLINE business and company registration with the Investment Promotion Authority is progressing well, Registrar of Companies Alex Tongayu says.

He made the comment last Friday at an International Finance Corp-funded consultation meeting for amendments to the Business Names Act and the Companies Act.

He said the system would allow for on-line filing and searching of company records. Tongayu said security checks had been put in place to prohibit filings from unauthorised persons. “This system will revolutionise public interactions with IPA Companies Office, with much faster turn-around time for services and have greater access for non-Port Moresby users,” he said.  The project should be ready by April or May next year.

IFC international consultant Anthony Frazier said the software was based on it being used by the New Zealand Companies Office and was being customised to suit PNG.  He said in the long run, they hoped the registry would make searching for company records free of charge. It currently costs K10.

Tongayu said to make this on-line service available to rural areas, the IPA would be setting up kiosks in areas where there was an IPA office to allow locals to have access.

Frazier said the modes of payment for accessing the online registry could be made through various ways such as setting up customer accounts, issuing of credit cards or using the prepaid system used by mobile phone top-up of call credits.  “We will get as creative as we can and also provide a distinction between fees for searching records and filing information,” he said.

This project, one of many under the regulatory simplification project,with IPA driving the change in PNG, was undergoing to turn PNG into a business hub. The other current programme was the review of the Companies Act and Business Names Act.

After the last consultation process in Lae yesterday, the final draft will be submitted to the NEC for processing. Tongayu said they expected the submission next month, but the consultation process as still open for inputs through legalreview@ipa.gov.pg until Aug 15.

He said the whole process should streamline, implement, improve and change the business landscape in the country. Acting managing director Clarence Hoot said the programme has been going for more than a year.

He invited comments and suggestions from stakeholders involved. Hoot said they would be reviewing the IPA Act.

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