Dr. Singh: I rise to offer my contribution in favour of the Business Names (Registration) (Amendment) Bill 2012 and in so doing I wish to assure you, Mdm. Deputy Chairperson, that I do not at all subscribe to the view that the unanimity and alacrity with which the House is acting today has absolutely anything to do with the fact that you are not on the floor of the House.
I anticipate that this will be the fourth item on today’s Order Paper that will receive the benefit of unanimous support in the House this evening. Not least because of the simplicity of this Bill, Bill No. 27 of 2012, but also because of the obvious merit and appeal of the very simple objective that it seeks to achieve.
The current Business Names Registration Act, Chapter 90:05 of the Laws of Guyana, provides that entities registered under this Act, registered business names – firms, individuals, or other business entities which are registered to do business under the said Act – are currently required to renew their registration not later than the 15th day of January every year as stipulated by section 5, subsection (1) of the Principal Act.
We have, as this honourable House would know, been endeavouring to identify every possible way, some small, some not so small, in which we could improve the efficiency with which entities can do business in Guyana and remove, as quickly as we possibly can and as efficiently as we possibly can, bureaucratic and other irritants and impediments to efficient functioning of business. I could regale this House with a long list of things that we have done in pursuit of this objective in this endeavour but I would not do so this evening, Mdm. Deputy Speaker.
This Bill represents, really, just the latest instalment in this effort to remove these impediments, to reduce the length of time required for a business to register or re-register its operations or its name and to really make the environment for doing business more attractive, more conducive and more user-friendly.
In view of the original provision, the provision contained in the Principal Act, what currently obtains is what one might call bunching because every entity, which is registered under this Act, is now required to re-register during the first fifteen days of the year which creates - what I would call bunching - some degree of congestion, and the Registrar of Business Names finds that office in a situation where a huge volume of applications have to be attended to at the same time within the first fifteen days of the year.
This House would recall that we confronted the same matters as was related to vehicle licences and we amended it and it removed the bunching and significantly improved the ease with which those licences can be renewed. This Bill seeks to do the same thing. It essentially states that instead of having to re-register within the first fifteen days of the calendar year, businesses will now be required to re-register not later than fifteen days after the anniversary date of the first registration, which essentially means now that the registration will expire and one’s re-registration will fall due on the anniversary of one’s first registration, rather than during the first fifteen days of the year. Throughout the year, this registration, or re-registration, process will now be effected, rather than during a very congested first two weeks of January.
The merits, I think, would seem obvious to Members of the House and to the business community. I believe that passing this into law will meet with the approval of the business community, certainly entities that are registered under this Act. I trust that this very simple Bill finds favour with this honourable House in much the same manner as the previous items that we considered this evening.
Mdm. Deputy Speaker, I would like to commend Bill No. 27 of 2012, the Business Names (Registration) (Amendment) Bill 2012, to this honourable House and I urge my colleagues in the House to lend this Bill the support which it deserves.
Thank you very much. [Applause]
Dr. Singh (replying): Fear not Mdm. Deputy Speaker, I have no intentions of disappointing you tonight. I would simply wish to thank my colleagues in the House who have spoken in favour of the Bill and I now move that the Bill be read for the second time and at the appropriate time I would move for its third reading and its passage.