Samoa’s Business Laws Reforms Recognized on the World Stage

An ariel view of Apia town  PHOTO by Apulu Lance Polu

APIA, SAMOA: THURSDAY 23 JULY 2015: Samoa’s business laws have been highlighted as an example the rest of the world can learn from in a new book on business finance policies.

Reform of Samoa’s Companies Act was spearheaded by the Ministry of Commerce in 2012. It resulted in a much simpler, cheaper and faster process for Samoans who wanted to incorporate their businesses, including the creation of the Samoa Companies Registry website (www.companies.gov.ws).

The story of this reform effort, along with that of Solomon Island’s business laws, has now been told as one of 23 case studies in Enhancing SME Access to Finance: Case Studies. The book, published last month by the Global Partnership for Financial Inclusion, highlights successful policy initiatives from around the world that promote the growth of small and medium sized enterprises by improving their access to finance. (It can be downloaded at www.gpfi.org/publications/enhancing-sme-access-finance)

‘The number of business registrations has almost doubled since the new registry was opened,’ said Auelua Taito Samuelu Enari the Chief Executive Officer of the Ministry at the time. ‘While this directly assists the business sector—especially new businesses—all Samoans will benefit from the increased economic activity made possible by these reforms. ‘

MCIL is currently examining opportunities to expand the registry to integrate foreign investment processes, cooperatives, incorporated societies and charitable trusts. This would expand its ease-of-business benefits to more local economic actors and make Samoa more attractive to foreign businesses.

Samoa’s standing as a world leader in business law reform was also recently acknowledged by Dr Paul Holden, Lead Economist with the Asian Development Bank’s Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative, which worked with MCIL on the reform process. ‘Together, these reforms will see MCIL put Samoa on the path to having a global best practice environment for doing business,’ said Dr Holden in a recent op-ed piece.

MCIL is proud to have led this achievement, which, along with making it easier for many Samoan people to reach their economic potential, has now drawn attention to our country as a place where business can prosper.

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