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Investment Promotion Authority to waiver penalty fees for defunct Bougainville companies.

Owners of defunct companies in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville can now have something to smile about as the Investment Promotion Authority announced its move to waiver penalty fees for the reinstatement of companies that have been deregistered as a result of the Bougainville crisis.

This comes as a result of an awareness conducted by the IPA team in Buin, Arawa and Buka in 2016, which the IPA Acting Managing Director Mr. Clarence Hoot and the Office of the Register of Companies were part of.

During the visit, the team received feedback from Bougainvilleans that although most companies in the province did not operate during the Bougainville crisis, they were deregistered by the IPA due to non-compliance with the filing of Company Annual Returns. The cost to reinstate such companies would be hefty.
The Acting Registrar of Companies, in consultation with the IPA Board, will exercise her administrative powers under the Companies Act 1997 (as amended) to waiver the accumulated compliance fees for all companies geographically located in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville.

Under Section 412 of the Act, the Registrar will waive all fees for defunct companies deregistered between 1989 and 2015. The waiver will only be applicable to companies directly affected by the crisis. For properties and assets registered under defunct companies the legitimate directors, shareholders and aggrieved parties may apply to the Acting Registrar of Companies to exercise her powers under Sections 372 and 373 of the Act to transfer properties of defunct companies to the interested applicants. Companies de-registered for more than six years will be required to apply to the National Court for reinstatement.

Further to this, the IPA has held discussions with the Internal Revenue Commission to allow the companies to also be exempt from submitting tax returns for the said period.

In announcing the move, IPA Acting Managing Director Mr Clarence Hoot said that the IPA Board recognizes the potential for local companies to contribute to the development of the economy and that’s why it had taken this initiative.
He said once these companies have revived business operations, they would be able to contribute to the development of the economy through taxes and job creation, hence elevating the revenue margins of the region.

Mr Hoot is now calling on companies and business owners to contact the IPA head office in Port Moresby and the Regional Office in Buka to facilitate the reinstatement of their entities.

Companies are deregistered when they fail to comply with certain requirements under the Companies Act 1997. One of which is the furnishing of Annual Returns to the office of the Registrar of Companies (ROC). The fee to lodge an Annual Return is K300 manually or K250 online. In the event that a company fails to lodge its Returns, it will be removed from the register of registered companies. Getting the company reinstated usually attracts heavy penalties inclusive of K1,300 fine multiplied by the number of years the Annual Return was not submitted, plus a K3,100 administrative fee.

A Bougainvillean company that had been deregistered in 1989 would be required to pay almost K40, 000 to IPA apart from the cost of media publications, gazettals and others. Almost 2,000 companies in Bougainville have not been operating since the Bougainville crisis, which started in 1988.
This scenario triggered the IPA to come up with this initiative in order to assist the rehabilitation of business in the Autonomous Region.

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