Over 500,000 businesses to be removed from ORC register, effective 30th June

June 5, 2024
Over 500,000 businesses to be removed from ORC register, effective 30th June

Effective 30th June 2024, over 500, 000 public and private business names and companies will be struck out of the register of the (ORC).

This follows the failure of the entities to file their annual returns in order to be in good standing.

The list is made up of over 8,000 companies and over 500,000 business names.

According to the ORC in a press release issued on Monday, June 3, the affected firms have been served with notices and reminders through various sensitisation programmes and multiple publications for the past two years.

Initially, the Office of the Registrar of Companies gave the companies up to the end of 2023 but decided to extend the period to allow for intensive public education by the ORC and adequate preparation on the part of the defaulting businesses to enable them to comply with the directive.

It noted that Per Section 289 (5) of the Companies Act 2019 (Act 992), a company that has its name struck out from the register cannot and is not permitted to conduct business under the Company name for twelve years.”

It further noted that business names (Sole Proprietorships) lose the right to the name as it falls into the public domain after the name is removed from the register by reason of default in accordance with section 59(A) of the Registration of Business Names 1962 (Act 151).

Furthermore, the release warned that “a company struck off the register can only be restored by the Registrar of Companies after a court finds sufficient cause and therefore issues an Order to the Registrar of Companies directing the restoration of the name to the register as per Section 289 (7) of the Companies Act 992.”

It therefore reminded companies and businesses in default to file their Annual Returns and Renewals as directed by the Registrar of Companies because the Office will end the validation process of the entities in default by June 30, 2024.

The release stated that filing Annual Returns is vital for maintaining compliance and transparency within the business community.

It ensures that companies and businesses fulfil their statutory obligations and remain in good standing with the Office.

In addition, the release advised, that failure to meet these obligations not only jeopardised the entity's legal standing but also undermined public trust and confidence and therefore requests that these entities take immediate action to be in good standing to avoid paying penalties and suffering potential legal repercussions.

The ORC encourages compliance from all stakeholders to uphold the integrity of the business environment and foster trust and confidence among investors, consumers, and the public. It has thus urged defaulting companies to visit the ORC's website to check the names of affected companies in default.

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