Presenting the bill entitled: the Companies Act, 2009, Trade and Industry Minister David Carew yesterday disclosed that the bill makes provisions for the establishment of a Corporate Affairs Commission that will register companies.
The Companies Act 2009 if passed into law provides for the registration and regulation of companies and other related matters.
David Carew said the present Companies’ Law was enacted as the Company Ordinance of 1937 which came into force on April 1, 1937 which became the Companies Act cap 249 of the laws of Sierra Leone.
He said the need for the reform of cap 249 has been felt and in doing that, the provision of the English Companies Act of 1965 were considered as they have moved on and further reformed their own Company Law culminating in the enactment of the Company Act 2006 “We are still behind (Sierra Leone) “he said.
The Trade Minister disclosed that the start of the reform of Sierra Leone’s Company Law has been costly in economical and social terms and stated because of the International implication of the Company Law, particularly in increasing globalization, it has become imperative to ensure that the provision of Sierra Leone’s Company Law were in harmony with those in force not only in the ECOWAS countries but also in force in other countries such as the EU, USA, Canada and other Commonwealth countries.
“This requests some potency if Sierra Leone is to attract investments from these countries and as Sierra Leone plans to engage the world in International trade and as we integrate regionally and internationally, it is necessary for us to bring our companies legislation up to date i.e. internationally acceptable and makes it easy for the businessman to relate to company practices from one region to another” the minister said.
The Minister also explained that following the collapse of EMRON and the various issues relating to corporate governance, the world has realized that the existing companies Act were insufficient to manage and to regulate corporate business “
And the world has moved on in trying to reform their companies legislation and Sierra Leone must be part of that reform process”
The major changes in the reform he stressed is that the body or the person that registers companies in the country as the old cap 249 indicated that the registration of companies was done by the Registrar of Companies who happens to be the Administrator and Registrar General.
He stated that the work load on the Registrar was many and it was against that view that a proposal for the establishment of the Corporate Affairs Commission with its Chairman being a legal practitioner or an accountant.
Because of the voluminous nature of the bill, the speaker has allotted three working days for it to be looked at the committee.