Online company registration launched
The Ministry of Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing, through its One Stop Business Facilitation Centre (OBFC), this week launched an online companies registration system.
The project, which is being supported by the New Zealand government, has made Lesotho the first African country to enjoy such a partnership with the island nation.
According to Trade and Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing minister, S’khulumi Ntsoaole, the system would make registering companies easier, quicker and more efficient.
The minister, who was speaking at Tuesday’s launch of the initiative in Maseru, said the system would take Lesotho a step closer to achieving the objectives of Vision 2020. In 2000, Lesotho took a policy decision to formulate a vision to pro- vide a long-term perspective within which national short to mediumterm plans could be formulated by the year 2020.
“By virtue of accessing registry online, it means even someone in London, Beijing and Washington DC, will be afforded the luxury to register with us whilst in the comfort of their own country.
“These people also wish to gather as much information as possible about our business environment before making a decision to invest, and should they fail, they simply transfer their business elsewhere. however, this is a transformational period which reflects the ministry’s commitment to implement new ways of doing business.
“This initiative also seeks to address unemployment issues and other economic setbacks as we build towards Vision2020.”
Mr Ntsoaole added he was extremely excited with the launch of the project, adding the ministry would be opening OBFC offices in all the country’s districts, starting with Leribe, with the aim of offering more information to “walk ins”.
New Zealand’s Deputy high Com- missioner to South Africa/lesotho, Danie Beukman, said his country had contributed M5 million to the project to cover the next five years.
Mr Beukman also said a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) he had earlier signed with Mr Ntsoaole on behalf of their respective countries, guaranteed financial assistance for training and infrastructure development for the online company registration system.
On her part, Deputy Registrar of Companies, Florence Motoa Mokhesi, assured users of the online system of its security.
“The online registration will be available to users 24 hours a day, providing a full suite of online services without any interference from network failure because we are using our own server, and have a sustainable back-up from the Ministry of Communications, Science and Technology,” she said.
“Although the search engine allows for anyone to look for a company name and its activities, the system will however, protect the user’s classified information and only allow those authorised to do so, to access certain information.”
Ms Mokhesi further said since the New Zealand technical team was deployed to work with the ministry from February this year, 23 100 companies had since been entered into the new database.
The online registry system, she added, was in line with the new Companies Act, which requires the incorporation of shares and sharing of capital allocation.
“The system further seeks to assist other government ministries generate reminders for their compilation of annual reports, as well as meet the requirements of the Companies Act, which stipulates that firms should incorporate their shares.
“A page will be allocated for the Lesotho Revenue Authority to control tax payments to ensure tax regulations are abided by simultaneously with the registration.
“The LRA will be able to extract the company’s information through an identification number and enforce due tax before it is registered.”
In 1999, New Zealand became the first country in the world to register companies online and to date, has 550 000 companies in its database.
Trade, Industry, Cooperatives and Marketing Minister Sk’hulumi Ntsoale.