The Business Names Bill 2014 has been passed by the Parliament on Wednesday 21st August 2014. When submitting the Bill in Parliament the Minister of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration said; “ This Bill is amongst Government’s reforms aimed at promoting a strong private sector development and in particular the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (SME)
that has ready access to business name registration and the benefits of entering the private sector that goes with it. The new Bill will create a more efficient business name registration system that takes less time and resources, especially for people living in rural areas who are finding it difficult to access registration of their business names.
He said that, “one of the fundamental needs for the private sector growth is business confidence and certainty. Certainties about knowing whom you are doing business with, and certainty that others will not use your good name. This certainty is vitally important for businesses to be confident enough to continue investing in Solomon Islands.
A longstanding practice in the private sector is for businesses to operate under names that are not their actual names. These “business names”, sometimes known as “trading names”, enable entities to differentiate themselves in the market and communicate with their customers about their business activities.
Over 1000 new businesses emerged every year in the Provinces and villages and the existing Registration of Business Names is somewhat inaccessible for our small businesses to register their Businesses hence the importance to have an up to date Business Names law.
The existing Registration of Business Names Act is outdated and needs to be replaced entirely. The current system is paper-based and it takes two to four weeks after an application is received to register a business name.
The existing outdated law creates unnecessary inefficiencies and places unfair costs on the private sector in Solomon Islands and in particular those in the Provinces. For example, if you want to register a business name you must do so in person at the Company Haus in the Ministry of Commerce, Industry, Labour and Immigration here in Honiara. This practice wastes the time and money of our hard working private sector. These inefficiencies create a disincentive for people who might be considering starting up a business to enter into the formal economy.
The lack of formality as per as the registration of business names means that our local entrepreneurs are missing out from the benefits formal recognition registered business brings. These businesses will find it harder to access finance to expand their operations and grow. Harder to stop others from trading using their good business name, harder to expand their customer base beyond people that they know directly, harder to enter into commercial contractual relationships with other businesses.
The current system also makes it more difficult for Solomon Islanders – men and women who live in Provinces to enjoy the benefits of having a registered business name. For example; If you need to travel from Provinces such as mine, the Choiseul Province, simply to register a business name, you could waste well over $1,000 and one to two weeks in travel. This time and money costs our hardworking business people dearly. This is exactly what this Bill is aiming to address and that is to create a more friendly business environment that would allow Solomon Islanders to reduce their costs in registration of their business names.
We need to provide these entrepreneurs with flexible ways to have their business names registered as a separate entity. The Business Names Bill 2014 supports a modern business registration system designed especially to suit the modern needs of Solomon Islands businesses.
The new Business Names Bill 2014 comes with major benefits to reforming the system and these are;