National Assembly approves amendments to Companies Act |27 May 2020
The National Assembly yesterday approved by 28 votes the Companies Amendment Bill 2020, which proposes a series of amendments to the Companies Act 1972 and seeks to modernise the legal framework within which businesses operate and to help improve Seychelles’ position in terms of ease of doing business.
The amendments were presented by Vice-President Vincent Meriton and Registrar General Wendy Pierre, who noted that it will serve to fill in gaps which currently exist in the powers of the Registrar and reinforce its roles, ease the setting up of business and support other concerned agencies, such as the Fair Trading Commission (FTC).
VP Meriton noted that a significant proportion of companies are not in compliance with relevant laws and regulations, and that the amendments have been drafted to support efforts to establish more transparent practices and impart more responsibility to domestic businesses.
He further elaborated to note efforts to draft a new Companies Act and numerous provisions of the amendment Bill including simpler procedures to set up and register a business, the introduction of certain fees, as well as removing outdated practices and requirements.
Other amendments seek to address current challenges including the practice among business owners of not submitting legal documents and updated information about the company or business, as well as powers of the registrar to strike a company off the register.
United Seychelles (US) member Sebastien Pillay and Linyon Demokratik Seselwa (LDS) member elect for Les Mamelles Bernard Georges both expressed support for the bill, noting the numerous benefits such as easier access to information for commercial banks as well as the provision which addresses certificates of good standing and the process if a company is not in good standing.
Honourable Pillay went further to question whether there is a need to look into a Registrar General’s Office which operates independently from the Attorney General’s Office, in line with the Bill’s objective of transparency.
Honourable Georges on his side argued that there is a necessity to continue improving laws. Being a legal professional himself, Honourable Georges explained to the assembly that the Bill is proposing mainly administrative amendments to aid the Registrar of companies, although he mentioned he would have preferred a series of amendments that are more comprehensive.
There are currently 8519 registered companies and 26,272 businesses in Seychelles.
The assembly during Committee stage proposed numerous minor changes to the wording of the Bill before taking a vote and approving the amendments.