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IFC and Tonga Government Launch Online Registry to Improve Business Registration

Nuku’alofa, Tonga, November 17, 2009 —IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping the Kingdom of Tonga set up an electronic company registry to improve business registration procedures and support the formalization of business, in particular small and medium enterprises.
The Ministry of Labor, Commerce, and Industries today showcased the registry to the public and business community in Nuku’alofa. The system, which goes live on December 1, will simplify the registration process and reduce the time it takes to start a business.
“Business will still need to fill out the required paper work,” said Lisiate 'Aloveita 'Akolo, Minister of Labor, Commerce, and Industries. “However, the system will allow staff members to enter the information efficiently and quickly. Once the correct information is entered, the system will automatically generate a registration certificate.”
IFC partnered with the New Zealand Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Labor, Commerce, and Industries to adapt New Zealand’s company registry software for use in Tonga. Staff members at the labor ministry will be responsible for inputting data, while New Zealand will host the information securely and provide Tonga with ongoing technical support and training.
The new electronic registry replaces the paper registry destroyed by fire in 2006, and assures records will be safe and secure for years to come. The system also will make it easier to access data on firms in Tonga. The newly amended Tongan Companies Act requires all existing companies to re-register within six months.
Anthony Frazier, IFC Investment Climate Advisor, said, “Anyone who wants to check on company information such as the names of directors before they sign a contract or lend money to a company will now be able to access those records.”
IFC is working with the Tongan government to improve the investment climate, supporting economic growth and job creation through private sector development. The governments of Australia, New Zealand, and Japan support IFC’s program in Tonga.
IFC is the only international financial institution focused exclusively on the private sector, the engine of sustainable development in emerging markets. Along with IBRD , it is currently seeking a capital increase to strengthen its ability to create opportunity for the poor in developing countries—including by helping implement reforms such as those benefiting businesses in Tonga.
About IFC
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $14.5 billion in fiscal 2009, helping channel capital into developing countries during the financial crisis. For more information, visit www.ifc.org .