Foreign businesses on notice

The Ministry of Commerce Industry and Labour (M.C.I.L.) has warned overseas businesses incorporated in Samoa they will risk being struck off if they don’t keep up their records up to date in line with the law. 

In a public statement signed by the Ministry’s Chief Executive Officer, Pulotu Lyndon Chu Ling, he said foreign businesses who failed to notify the Ministry of the status of their business operations or changes to their structures will lead to their deregistration. 

A total of 26 overseas ventures have been issued a Foreign Investment Certificate (F.I.C.) but have failed to notify the Ministry about their business operations within the time frames laid down according to law. 


 

The law obliging foreign businesses to disclose their activities states that:

“A certificate issued under this Act may be cancelled by the Chief Executive Officer if the business has not commenced operations within two years from the date the certificate was issued or the business has ceased operations in Samoa.

“However, should the business wish to remain on the Register, Section 12[2] (b) of the Act requires the certificate holder to make written submission within ten working days from the date of receipt of the notice to the Ministry for reconsideration. 

“Failure to provide the Ministry with written submission within the above mentioned time frame will result in the cancellation of the F.I.C. and removal of the F.I.E. from the Register.”

The Act states that, “A certificate issued under this Act may be cancelled by the Chief Executive Officer if the business has not commenced operations within two years from the date the certificate was issued or the business has ceased operations in Samoa.” 

“However, should the business wish to remain on the Register, Section 12[2] (b) of the Act requires the certificate holder to make written submission within ten working days from the date of receipt of the notice to the Ministry for reconsideration. 

“Failure to provide the Ministry with written submission within the above mentioned timeframe will result in the cancellation of the F.I.C. and removal of the F.I.E. from the Register.”


The Ministry reminded business operators that all foreign owned businesses or those with foreign shareholding are required to renew their foreign investment certificates annually. 

“Failure to renew a F.I.C. within the specified timeframe will result in the Foreign Investment Certificate holder having to reapply for a new F.I.C.,” the statement said. 

It is an offence for a non-citizen or a company having a shareholder who is a non-citizen, to be engaged in or be employed at any business or economic activity which is specified in the prohibited list or the reserved list.”

The reserved list includes business activities such as bus and taxi transport services; for the general public; renting vehicles; the sale of food and beverages and garment designing and printing businesses. 

“If a non-citizen is found to be engaged in any of the reserved activities as outlined above, the Ministry will take appropriate action to address this issue,” Pulotu said.

“It is also encouraged that members of the public report any cases of non-citizens involved in any of the reserved activities to the Ministry.”

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