The Parliament of Zimbabwe is in the process of establishing a new law for the registration and operation of companies in Zimbabwe. This law will replace the current Companies Act. It will be called the Companies and Other Entities Act (right now it is still a bill).
The bill states that all companies that are already in existence will need to be registered again if/when the bill is signed into law. This should be done within 12 months of the commencement of the law. The summary memorandum of the bill says:
To update and modernise the Companies Registry by re-registering all existing companies and PBCs and removing all defunct companies and PBCs within 12 months of the date of commencement of the Act resulting from this Bill.
Among the new features that this bill posses is the clause that allows official company records and documents such as minutes to be recorded and kept in any of the recognised official languages of Zimbabwe. The bill states:
Any such register, index, minutes, financial statements and document required by this Act to be kept by a registered business entity and every document required by this Act or by an entity’s constitutive documents to be issued or circulated by a registered business entity shall be in the English language or in any officially recognised language:
Provided that where such a record is not in the English language and is required to be furnished to the Registrar, an auditor or any other person, the business entity shall provide the Registrar, auditor or other person with a certified English translation.
Zimbabwe has 16 official languages. This has been the case since the coming into force of the current constitution in 2013. Before then, only English was the official language. However, all commerce is conducted in English which can discriminate against those who are not very comfortable in the language.
Allowing official records to be in other languages besides English is a good thing.
There are several other new features in this bill that will replace the current act. The current act is overdue for renewal, it was passed in 1951. The parliament is conducting public consultations on this bill across the country this week. It’s a good use of your time to read the bill, which you can download here and if you can participate in the parliamentary process. You can find the schedules on the Veritas website here.