Over 16,000 companies have paid annual returns to the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA) since the amnesty for companies to pay their annual returns penalties started last year.
PACRA Public Relations Officer Vaida Bunda said following the extension of the deadline for the waiver from 31st December to 31st January 2013, PACRA had been able to roll out the exercise to rural areas especially places where the agency had no offices.
Ms. Bunda was speaking to ZANIS in Lusaka on Wednesday.
She urged companies that had not yet submitted their annual returns to do so before the end of the business day tomorrow, 31st January 2013.
She added that PACRA would not extend the deadline again noting that companies that would not file their returns will automatically be deregistered and deleted from the agency’s database.
Ms. Bunda explained that PACRA was keen to reducing the number of defunct companies on its database in readiness for digitalization to commence on 1st February 2013.
She revealed that the agency had initially planned on digitalise its records this month, January 2013, but postponed the exercise due to the extension of the amnesty.
And Ms. Bunda disclosed that the agency has registered over 200 businesses during the mobile registration of companies it was conducting in various parts of the country.
She said PACRA embarked on a mobile registration of companies to make its services accessible to people who otherwise would find it both costly and inconveniencing as they had to travel from remote places to where the agency has offices.
Last year, PACRA granted amnesty to all defaulters irrespective of the number of years a particular company had not remitted its annual returns.
The amnesty begun on October 1, 2012 and was expected to end on December 31. However PACRA extended the deadline to 31st January this year stating that the big beneficiaries of the amnesty were businesses from urban areas.