The west wel­comes Com­pa­nies Of­fice new branch

Jamaica Gleaner - - WESTERN FOCUS - Clau­dia Gard­ner As­sign­ment Co­or­di­na­tor

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.

HES­I­TANT

“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.

“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.

GROW­ING SEC­TION

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 COJ, 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.

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