The Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) has at the end of the third quarter registered over 27,000 businesses across the country in 2013 as compared to 24,000 businesses registered in 2012. The bulk of the registrations are in the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises category.
The increase in the number of registrations can be attributed to the performance of the economy and entrepreneurs desire to take advantage of economic opportunities. Most of the registered businesses are in Tourism, Construction, Agriculture and Mining sectors.
To capture the entrepreneurs that are emerging in these sectors, the Agency has decentralized its services by opening regional offices in eight provincial centers namely Kitwe, Mongu, Chipata, Kasama, Chinsali, Livingstone, Choma, Solwezi, Mansa and set up a receiving office in Ndola. In areas where the Agency has no physical presence, strategic partnerships have been formed with Local Authorities to ensure that the business Communities’ needs are catered for in their respective areas.
“PACRA intends to decentralize its services even further in 2014 so that more businesses are formalized throughout the country. The Agency also intends to go online in its offer of services such as business registrations and filing of annual returns”, PACRA Chief Executive Officer and Registrar, Anthony Bwembya said.
Mr. Bwembya said the Agency was working on several other initiatives that would help ease the process of registering businesses in Zambia and compliance with post registration requirements. Among the initiatives are the e-payment system and establishment of a call centre at the Lusaka Head Office.
Meanwhile, the Agency has recently de-registered a further 710 companies in addition to the initial 750 that were de-registered earlier this year as indicated in the Government Gazette Notices No.6252 dated 15th November 2013 . The businesses were deregistered for non-compliance with the requirement to file Annual Returns.
The Companies Act CAP 388 of the laws of Zambia in sections 184 and section 189A provides that if a company fails to file annual returns, the company and each officer in default commits an offence and the company may be struck-off the register and its officers prosecuted.
To this end, in compliance with the law, the Agency in 2013, gazzetted the names of all the 1400 companies that have been struck off the register as required by law. The names of the 1400 limited companies that have been struck off the register can also be accessed from our website at www.pacra.org.zm. The Agency would therefore like to encourage all businesses to file their returns and avoid the inconvenience of paying penalties and being de-registered for non-compliance.