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1.3 Establishment of a One Stop Shop for Business Registration

In 2008 Jamaica ranked 11 out of 178 economies in the ease of starting a business, with 6 procedures, a duration of 8 days and a cost of 9.4% of per capita income. We have since then, in 2014 dropped to 23/189 in the global ranking, even though we have reduced the number of procedures to 5, the number of days to execute those procedures to 6 and the cost to 6.4% of per capita income. While we have improved, so too have the rest of the world, thereby changing the benchmark from 2 procedures in 2 days in 2008 (Australia), to 1 procedure in half a day at practically no cost in 2014 (New Zealand). 

 

Jamaica

Global Benchmark[1]

Regional Benchmark[2]

2008

2014

2008

2014

2008

2014

number of procedures

6

5

2

1

5

6

time (days)

8

6

2

0.5

19

6

cost (% of income per capita)

8.7

6.4

0

0

0.9

0.9

 

As the above table indicates, if we want to improve our ranking in this area we still have very far to go.

Since 2008, the Ministry of Investment, Industry and Commerce (MIIC) has been working on a one-stop-shop programme’ for the registration of companies and business names in Jamaica through data sharing among the government agencies involved in business start-ups.   The project was designed to allow Companies Office of Jamaica (COJ) to capture pertinent information on one data form to determine the eligibility of applicants for registration according to criteria set by the various agencies.  This would eliminate the need for customers to visit the offices of each of the stakeholder agencies (National Insurance Scheme, Tax Administration Jamaica (TAJ), National Housing Trust (NHT) and Human Employment and Resource Training National Training Agency (HEART) Trust/NTA) to complete the registration process.  After numerous consultative sessions with the agencies, 14 forms totalling 50 pages were reduced to one major form of eight pages, with several legislative changes undertaken in order to accommodate the use of the new Business Registration Form.

On 2nd January 2014 the new Business Registration Form was implemented with a manual exchange of data among the stakeholder agencies.  By 7th April 2014 there was full electronic data exchange among all stakeholder agencies.  The Government will however not stop there but has designed a project that will allow for the implementation by 2015 of an electronic Business Registration Form (eBRF) to be implemented on CoJ’s new website.

The implementation of the eBRF will reduce the number of days to register a business from the current 6 days to a maximum of 3 days, allowing all transactions to be conducted online in one application procedure. To ensure accessibility of the new online service, kiosks will be placed in the major revenue collection offices across the island. It is expected that with the implementation of the eBRF it will be much easier for new businesses to be created, and for entities to be compliant with the statutory requirements for operating their businesses.



[1] The global benchmark is provided by the best performers globally for that indicator: 2014 - New Zealand (# of procedures and time); Slovenia (cost)

 

[2] The regional benchmark is based on the best performer among comparator economies within the region ( as identified by the World Bank) for that indicator for that year: 2008 – Dominica ( # of procedures and time), Trinidad and Tobago ( cost) | 2014 – Puerto Rico (# of procedures, time and cost)