Botswana business registration goes online

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Mpho Tebele

Gaborone – As part of its effort to improve the ease of doing business in the country, Botswana is working on introducing online registration for companies and businesses.

mpanies and businesses. This follows a memorandum of understanding that was signed by the governments of Botswana and New Zealand in 2016.

According to the agreement, New Zealand Companies Office (NZCO) agreed to assist with the implementation of the online busi-ness registration system.

The New Zealand government will be providing the software at no cost to Company Intellectual Property Authority (CIPA), NZCO is noted to have appointed a com-pany called Foster Moore to build the system that will reach CIPA’s specifications and requirements.

Botswana’s CIPA Registrar Gen-eral, Conductor Masena, told reporters that his organisation will soon register companies online ahead of the Corporate Registers Forum (CRF) to be held in Gabo-rone.

He said that hosting the forum scheduled for May 21-25 will help CIPA benchmark and learn from the best international practice regard-ing efficient business registration. CRF is an international body con-sisting of corporate registries (com-pany registration organisations) from around the globe. Its role is to allow member organisations to share experiences and information on the present and future opera-tions of corporate business regis-tration systems. 

Currently, the CRF has over 60 member countries, with Botswana represented by CIPA. Organisations that provide services to corporate registries, including information technology organisations also form part of the CRF community.

“CIPA will be assisted by the gov-ernment of New Zealand to imple-ment the much-anticipated com-panies and business names online registry. The service is expected to roll out during the course of this year once the proposed bills are passed by the current sitting parliament,” he said.

Masena added that “We also network with other CRF member countries to benefit from various technical workshops and trainings aimed at improving service delivery within our registries.”

A new bill presented and approved by parliament to facili-tate for the online registration of companies by Minister of Trade Investment and Industry Bogolo Kenewendo will come into force soon. 

Masena said companies that reg-istered manually will be required to re-register online or they will be de-registered.

“After the approval of our request, the plan is to implement a robust stakeholder national consultation to ensure that we educate the public on the requirements of online registration and re-regis-tration,” he said.

He added, “We will also submit the re-registration regulations to the Attorney General Chambers to ensure they are approved within a reasonable time.”

Meanwhile, earlier when pre-senting her bill, Kenewendo said it was very important to amend the bills within the business sector, as this would enable the ease doing of business and attract investors to Botswana. She said this latest development would help boost and diversify the country’s econ-omy and potential employment opportunities.

“The amendment of such bills will ensure an effective way of doing business with the introduc-tion of Online Business Registra-tion System, which will enable the present businesses or companies to re-register business names,” she said.

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