Namibia to reduce duration of business registrations

Martin Endjala

The Minister of Industrialization and Trade, Lucia Iipumbu today said that due to outdated laws, business processes and procedures have been hampered, while also stating that they do not speak to the current environment and have been a hindrance towards the ease of doing business in Namibia.

According to the minister, Namibia performed poorly in terms of ease of doing business rankings. This, she said is due to a number of challenges, of which one is the number of days it takes to start a business. Iipumbu made comparisons with South Africa, Botswana and Rwanda.

She says while Namibia’s duration to register a business is between seven to 14 days, other African countries have reduced the timeframe to less than 24 hours.

The minister made these remarks at the international roundtable on Namibia corporate law reform, organized by the Business and Intellectual Property Authority(BIPA).

Iipumbu stressed that the amendment of laws will simplify the process of business registration including making the law flexible for the electronic filing of applications and other related documents, required to be lodged with the Registrar.

Iipumbu also said that reducing the number of days is certainly a near future reality, but it must first ensure that all the hindrances are addressed.

Some of the hindrances to the realization of that potential include the apparent ‘bureaucratic red tape,’ ‘unfavorable regulatory framework for doing business,’ archaic business law concepts and processes, corruption and its related vices.

“We will be listening to your suggestions over the duration of this roundtable on how the resulting regulatory framework should deal with these challenges and effectively work towards achieving a reformed and inclusive framework for businesses and economies to thrive,” she said in her speech.

Iipumbu further reiterated that her ministry, shares a common obligation with all stakeholders to contribute to the development of business and economic growth of the country and it cannot only be subject to the efforts of only the Ministry or that of the regulatory authority.

“As corporate law stakeholders, practitioners and professionals, we must all recapture the spirit which we all resolved in 2018 to commence the process of reviewing business laws in the development of the policy framework and legislation on the corporate legislation for the 21st Century in Namibia,” she said.

The roundtable and its emanating discussions are said to invariably lead to the development of the Corporate Laws Bill and Regulations, which will replace the current Companies Act no 28 of 2004 and the Close Corporations Act no 26 of 1988, both of which are said to be in serious need of modernisation.

Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of BIPA Vivienne Katjiuongua is adamant that business conduct is built on various principles, one of which is the notion that businesses should be conducted in a sound, fair and honest manner hence the aspect of good and sound corporate governance principles and the need to regulate the conduct of those entrusted with directing business interests.

“As discussions with experts and various stakeholders deliberate on reforming the BIPA laws, which its laws are premised on creating a more modernized, responsive and simplified legal framework for the formalization and conduct of business entities in Namibia, reforms are therefore further aimed at improving the ease of doing business in the country and the level of competitiveness. Furthermore, the amended laws aim to encourage investment and innovation through an effective and predictable regulatory business environment to attract and solidify government efforts towards business development in Namibia,” Katjiuongua said.

Moreover, Katjiuongua indicated that, despite BIPA being at a pivotal stage in reforming processes, it is common cause Namibia has and continues to perform far below average on international indices, which instils confidence in foreign investors if the country’s ranking is improved.

“Having regard to the latter, it was inevitable for Namibia to not only review these laws but introduce a total reform of how business is conducted in Namibia, as it has a direct correlation to economic growth and development, as well as foreign and domestic investment in key sectors”, said the CEO.

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