Intellectual property authority embarks on business law tour

CONSULTING … The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa) is engaging in consultations with experts in company law, corporate governance, tax law and other areas to craft aspects of Namibia’s new business law.

The Business and Intellectual Property Authority (Bipa), in collaboration with the Ministry of Industrialisation and Trade, is hosting countrywide corporate law reform stakeholders’ consultations.

The consultations will allow experts in company law, corporate governance, tax law and other areas to come together and craft aspects of Namibia’s new business law.

The aim of the review is to merge two acts and draft a single corporate business law that would regulate all forms of business entities, including aspects of business rescue and corporate governance.

Bipa chief executive officer Vivienne Katjioungua on Monday at Walvis Bay said the authority initiated the legislative reform process in 2019, which included the review of the Companies Act of 2004 and the Close Corporations Act of 1988 in conjunction with other acts.

She said the organisation is at an advanced stage of the reviewing process.

“The reason for the reform of the laws is because the current laws regulating the registration of business entities and their conduct in Namibia is deemed outdated and non-responsive to the current needs of the economy.

“Business conduct is built on various principles, one of which is the notion that business should be conducted in a sound, fair and honest manner.

“These regional stakeholder engagement consultations are critical because the law-making process in Namibia required as wide a consultation as possible to safeguard the process of law making and ensure that the affected citizens have the opportunity to be part of the process and to have their voices heard.” Katjioungua said.

She said it was inevitable for Namibia to not only review these laws, but also to introduce a total reform of how business is conducted in Namibia.

“We are at a pivotal stage in the reform process, and the next few weeks will make or break the progress made so far . . .

“It is therefore important to note that these very important regional stakeholder consultations will allow Bipa and the consultants to gather input from as wide a public in order to ensure balanced views and opinions are considered before starting with the draft bill,” she said.

International consultants also participated in the meeting.

Tshepo Mongalo, a professor at the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa, who is driving the legislative review process, touched on some of the objectives, including the encouragement of investment and innovation through an effective and predictable regulatory business environment and the promotion of efficiency of companies and management.

“This is at the heart of every corporate law reform system, and I think for us to exclude it would be a tragedy. Every investor looks at what is the jurisdiction that could provide a safe and secure environment in which my business can be protected.

“If Namibia does not play in that field, it will find itself on a bad foot with regards to attracting investment.

“The promotion of efficiency of companies and the management thereof is also at the heart of corporate law reform.

“It includes what sort of powers we need to give to companies to run efficiently without the government breathing down their necks in a way in which regularity compliance becomes more of a concern for businesses, rather than running their businesses effectively,” he said.

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