Government has launched the Malawi Business Registration System, and the Collateral Registry, a development that will enable members of the public register their businesses and movable assets online.
The official launch took place at the Bingu International Conference Centre (BICC) in Lilongwe where Vice President, Dr. Saulos Chilima, was guest of honour.
In his keynote address, Chilima described the launch of the two systems as a long stride in the on-going public sector reforms, which he happens to head, and he said the systems would help improve the Doing Business Environment in Malawi.
With the new systems, other than people trekking to the registrar’s office to register their businesses, or trekking to the Malawi Revenue Authorities (MRA) offices to pay taxes, they will be doing it online and in the comfort of their homes or offices.
The Vice President said with the introduction of the online registration system, the number it took to register a company had been reduced to five days from 38 days.
“Factors such as the number of days it takes to register a business, the effectiveness and efficiency of the Judiciary in handling commercial disputes and the functionality of the land registration system, are some of the indicators that determine the ranking of a country in relation to Doing Business,” said Chilima.
He said through the online business registration innovation people could also pay for business services rendered by the Registrar General’s Department at any branch of the Malawi Savings Bank.
“This is what we call responding to the needs of a 21st century world… and if this is not excellence, I don’t know what it is,” said Chilima.
The Veep said by ensuring that the MRA joins hands with the Department of the Registrar General in registering businesses for tax purposes, the reforms were far reaching and would go a long way in curbing tax evasion in the corporate world and enhance revenue collection for social development programmes.
On Collateral Registry, Chilima said the initiative would increase the availability of credit to consumers, and, in particular, to small businesses through a robust secured lending framework.
He also said the Collateral Registry would provide an alternative avenue for small and medium enterprises to secure loans using movable property as collateral.
“It is an initiative that will afford small scale businesses, who in most cases lack fixed assets, an opportunity to access loans easily through movable security,” said the Vice President.
He added: “This will also open up a multitude of opportunities for women who are mostly small scale traders.”
Chilima further thanked the World Bank and the Department for International Development (DfID) for the financial support that made the reforms a reality.
Source: Nyasa Times