President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, on Friday, 2nd August, 2019, gave his assent to the new Companies Act replacing the 1963 version. This was after the new Act was brought to him from Parliament on Friday, 2nd August, after it was passed in May this year.
President Akufo-Addo made this known on Saturday, 3rd August, 2019, when he delivered the keynote address at the 1st Ghana Association of Restructuring and Insolvency Advisors presidential fundraising dinner and awards night, held at the Labadi Beach Hotel.
Addressing the gathering, the President noted that since the enactment of the Companies Act (Act 179 of 1963), a statute inspired by the late, celebrated English jurist, Professor L.C.B Gower, there have only been sporadic revisions to the Act.
The first acknowledged revision took place in 2003, under the supervision of the late Justice V.C.R.A.C Crabbe, which ended up being no more than a consolidation of the existing provisions of the Act, and was not laid before Parliament.
In 2008, under the presidency of His Excellency John Agyekum Kufuor, the Business Law Reform Committee of Experts was established. The Committee made innovative policy recommendations for the reform of the Companies Act, recommendations which did not find its way to Parliament.
“So, you can appreciate my understandable elation when, as part of my Government’s programme for improving the ease of doing business in Ghana, Parliament passed a new Companies Act, on 2nd May, 2019, replacing the 1963 Act. So, we now have the Companies Act, 2019, to which, by the grace of God, I assented to yesterday, 2nd August, 2019. The process of enactment is now complete,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo was confident that this new Act will improve significantly the ease of doing business in Ghana, enhance the corporate regulatory and governance framework, and reduce the cost of ensuring compliance for businesses.
“I invite the business community in Ghana, and those from outside our shores, to take advantage of the growing business-friendly environment being created in Ghana, and invest in our country. Let me reiterate that Ghana continues to be a haven of peace, security and stability, indeed, the safest country in West Africa, and legitimate investments are protected,” the President noted.
He thanked the Attorney General and her drafting team, the Committee of Experts, chaired by the well-respected jurist, the former Supreme Court judge, Mr. Justice Date-Bah, the Speaker and Members of Parliament, and all other stakeholders, including the World Bank, the Business Sector Advocacy Challenge (BUSAC), and friends of Ghana, for their efforts which have culminated in the passage of this new law.
President Akufo-Addo added that more needs to be done to complete the country’s business reform agenda, and the Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Bill, which is currently before Parliament, will, amongst others, provide the avenue to help resuscitate distressed, but viable business entities and establishments from liquidation and their ramifications.
With the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), and with Ghana playing host to the secretariat, the President indicated that the country is going to be the hub for African trade and investment, bringing in its wake more jobs, expanded conferencing and hospitality services, enhanced aviation and other transportation services, and related allied businesses.
“Consequently, the timing of our business law reforms could not have been more propitious,” he added.
President Akufo-Addo also launched the GARIA Trust Fund, which is designed to be the principal financing vehicle for GARIA, and will be managed by an independent Board of Trustees.
“I am going to ask the Ministries of Finance, Trade and Industry, and Business Development to see to what extent they can properly assist the Fund. In the meanwhile, I am personally donating GH¢50,000 as my modest contribution to the Fund,” he added.