The New Companies Bill to Allow Use of Vernacular Written Documents.

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The New Companies Bill to Allow Use of Vernacular Written Documents.
Image Credit: Chronicle

Companies and Other Business Entities Bill, which is currently before the parliament of Zimbabwe, allows for the acceptance or recognition of constitutive documents written in a local language of choice for the applicant in an effort to promote all constitutionally recognised dialects, speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda revealed.

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Mudenda, who was speaking during the CEO Africa Roundtable Business Breakfast Meeting in Harare yesterday, said that the use of officially recognised vernacular languages creates the element of business inclusivity among business aspirants in Zimbabwe.

“Clause 9 of the Bill provides for this feature (use of local languages),” Mudenda said. “This permits local investors to choose the language of business they are best conversant with when crafting their Articles of Incorporation.”

“This is laudable because local investors are able to effectively articulate their economic vision in their constitutive documents with a clear understanding of their business intentions. “

Besides allowing the use of local languages other things provided for which are not in the current companies act, the bill includes ushering in the introduction of an Electronic Registration of domestic and foreign companies as well as private business corporations.

The Bill provides for the decentralisation of the Company Registry offices to other cities and towns according to the Speaker of the National Assembly.

 “In addition, the substitution of criminal penalties by civil penalties wherever possible augurs well with international standards,” Madenda said. “This is embodied in Clause 60 where creditors may seek a civil remedy declaration by way of application to a competent court.”

“Further, the establishment of an inspectorate to better enforce the provisions of the law relating to companies and other business entities will provide an assurance of business equity and public accountability.  Chapter 9 of the Constitution comes to mind here as it essentially espouses prudential corporate governance now clearly encapsulated in this Bill.”

The current Companies Act was promulgated in 1951 during Zimbabwe’s colonial period.

“Over the nearly seven decades, the country and the world has evolved drastically in corporate governance in the private sector,” Mudenda said. “The socio-economic values of Zimbabwe have inevitably transformed overtime.”

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