[editorial] Making business registration attractive


High costs and complicated application process associated with legal registration of a business enterprise, no matter how small, have been the main obstacles to registration of businesses in The Gambia.


The Single Window Business Registration Act of 2013, passed last year, intends to change that by making it much cheaper and easier to register a business in The Gambia. The launch of this welcome development coincided with the World Bank Doing Business Report 2013, which ranks The Gambia very low, citing the 27 days it takes to complete the process of registering a business here.  



The Single Window Business Registry is where you can go through all the formalities to start a new business at a single business registry service point or by using the e-filing system.


Since the beginning of this year the new system has drastically reduced the time it takes to register a business to ONE DAY as opposed to 27 days, as captured in the World Bank Doing Business report 2013.


Combining all the legal requirements such as reservation of a business name, tax payer registration with the Gambia Revenue Authority, registration of a business in the Single Window Business Registration commercial register, Social Security employer registration and trade license from the municipality, all in one transaction and at one place will go a long way to encourage registration of business. 


Making company seal optional and not a prerequisite to start a business and abandoning notarisation of company statutes such as memorandum and articles of association is a welcome move. 


Most importantly, costs associated with registration of a business whether micro, small, medium or large, have been slashed by the removal of the requirement of a tax deposit and the payment of stamp duty for companies, as well as the substantial reduction in incorporation fees for companies and the initial trade license fees for registering with the municipalities.


All you need to pay now for registration of an individual business is D500. The convenience of filing an application for business registration online will also enable potential investors outside the country to come and invest in the country. Hopefully, all these will provide the attraction needed to bring every business in and see an increase in the registration of businesses in The Gambia.


The Attorney General’s Chamber and Ministry of Justice should endeavour to further speed up the process and decentralise business registration activities throughout the country, so as to bring it closer to all and sundry. The KMC sub-office has already started registering businesses but operates only on Wednesdays for now. This should be followed immediately by Brikama, Farafenni and Basse.