Business Law Reform

We work with Pacific countries to create simplified, modern, and locally tailored business laws.

A dynamic private sector leads to higher employment and incomes, reduced poverty and increased prosperity. But in many Pacific Island countries, confusing and outdated laws make it difficult for businesses to start, trade and grow. 

Business laws underpin the way in which economic activity is organized. They determine how businesses are formed, how contracts are structured, and how enterprises expand or are closed down. The ease of business formation and costs of complying with laws and regulations have a major bearing on the degree of informal economic activity in a country. Low-cost, inclusive business laws provide strong incentives for business formalization. Formal businesses, in turn, have greater access to finance, contracts, international trade, and prospects or growth. 

Through its business law reform focus area, PSDI aims to modernize the foundational business law frameworks of the 14 Pacific island DMCs, and make the legal system accessible to everyone, by: 

  • providing legal and regulatory advice to all PSDI focus areas in areas such as policy design, regulatory change, and legal drafting, to help them achieve their desired outcomes;
  • streamlining business registration processes by establishing low cost, predictable, and streamlined steps to incorporate and register business entities using business registry technology such as online business registries;
  • establishing better business laws through an extensive variety of projects that aim to improve business environments by responding to each countries’ individual needs.
  • enabling movable assets financing by establishing the legal frameworks and accompanying online systems that make it easy for lenders to accept movable property as collatera
  • introducing simple business structures such as single shareholder/single director companies, which make formality far simpler for small businesses;
  • promoting entrepreneurship and foreign direct investment, particularly in Papua New Guinea through an extensive program of support to the PNG Investment Promotion Authority; and
  • allowing for community companies, an easy-to-establish corporate form for village and community businesses that provides a superior way to receive profits or revenues from royalties or communal economic activities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Changes to laws and regulations form an integral part of virtually all reform, as they enshrine change in an accountable, enforceable manner. The business law reform team also provides critical technical advice to other PSDI focus areas on policy design, regulatory change, and legal drafting in order to assist those areas to achieve the desired outcomes.

Business Law Reform at a glance

Five online business registries

PSDI has supported the establishment of online business registries in 5 Pacific island countries, reducing the time, cost, and effort required to register a formal business.

Business registrations 90% faster

Following the implementation of PSDI-supported reforms and registry establishment, the time taken to register a business in Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu has fallen from 22 days to 1.5 days (on average).

91% increase in company registrations

The number of new companies registered post-reform increased by an average of 91% in Samoa Solomon Islands, Tonga and Vanuatu.

Simplified business structures

created, such as single shareholder companies, that make it easier for individuals, especially women, to establish formal businesses.

Community companies established,

enabling communities to harness their shared resources and capacity to build collective wealth.

Transparent foreign investment

promoted, enabling access to overseas know-how, labor, and capital.
Latest News
10 March 2020
Launch of online Cook Islands Companies, Incorporated Societies, and Personal Property Securities Registry

In the Cook Islands, the activation of the Manatua communications cable, scheduled for mid-2020, is going to dramatically increase digital connectivity. PSDI has been helping the Government of Cook Islands prepare for this by ensuring the country has a modern, enabling business environment. This has involved reforming important business laws, and the development of an online Companies, Incorporated Societies, and Personal Property Securities Registry. The registry is making crucial business administration...

read more
12 December 2019
Cook Islands Launches Registry to Improve Business, Increase Finance with Support from ADB and New Zealand

RAROTONGA, COOK ISLANDS (12 December 2019) — A new online registry will help improve the efficiency of doing business in the Cook Islands, making it easier for businesses and individuals to access much-needed finance to help expand and develop their operations and contribute to job creation and incl

read more
12 December 2019
ADB-supported online Companies, Incorporated Societies, and Personal Property Securities Registry launched in Cook Islands

The Cook Islands now has a modern, online system for the registration and administration of companies, incorporated societies and personal property securities, making it easier to do business and access finance.

read more
23 September 2019
PSDI experts participate in PNG's Business Regulators Summit

PSDI experts shared insights from their work supporting improvements to Papua New Guinea’s business environment at the PNG Investment Promotion Authority's first Business Regulators’ Summit in Port Moresby last week.

read more
Key Publications
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2018–2019
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2018–2019
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from July 2018 to June 2019.
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2017–2018
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2017–2018
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from June 2017 to June 2018.
Papua New Guinea Country Overview 2018
Papua New Guinea Country Overview 2018
What is PSDI doing in the Papua New Guinea?
PSDI’s Second Newsletter: July–December 2016
PSDI’s Second Newsletter: July–December 2016
This newsletter looks back at PSDI activities over the period July-December 2016.
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2016–2017
PSDI Annual Progress Report 2016–2017
This report gives an overview of PSDI activities from June 2016 to June 2017.
PSDI Country Overviews 2017
PSDI Country Overviews 2017
What is PSDI doing in the Pacific?