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Kiribati | 11 May 2021

New laws make it easier to start, manage, and grow businesses in Kiribati—PSDI

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Tarawa, Kiribati (11 May 2021) — Kiribati now has a suite of modern foundational business laws after the Companies Act, Company Insolvency Act, and Business Names Act were passed by Parliament last week. The new laws will make it easier for both existing and new businesses to operate in Kiribati, says the Asian Development Bank's Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative (PSDI).

"These business law reforms—by simplifying the requirements for running a business—will help grow the private sector and increase its contribution to the Kiribati economy," said Kiribati Minister for Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, the Hon. Minister Bootii Nauan.

"By making it easier and cheaper to start, formalize, and operate businesses in Kiribati, the government is encouraging entrepreneurship and increased participation in the formal economy. This is crucial to reaching Kiribati's 20-year vision of increasing the private sector's contribution to gross domestic product to 65% by 2036 and fulfilling the Government’s Manifesto (Motinnano) of strengthening laws and policies during this 4-year term (2021–2023).”

"These reforms show that the Government of Kiribati is serious about empowering our entrepreneurs. Passing these three new laws is a huge step in the ministry's ongoing legislative reform program, which is working to identify and ease the constraints to doing business in Kiribati," Mr Nauan added.

The new laws are the result of the long-term efforts and commitment of the Ministry of Commerce, Industry and Cooperatives, with support from the PSDI—a technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the governments of Australia and New Zealand.

"Developing a modern legal environment that makes it easier to do business is one of the most sustainable ways to stimulate economic growth and improve livelihoods," said Regional Director of ADB’s Pacific Liaison and Coordination Office, Ms. Lotte Schou-Zibell. "That's why ADB—through the Pacific Private Sector Development Initiative—is supporting governments throughout the Pacific to reform business laws, ensuring they are well-adapted and suitable for the region's small island economies."

The reforms were also supported by the New Zealand Companies Office, which provided substantial in-depth technical assistance to help identify existing constraints and improve business registration processes.

"The new laws give Kiribati a future-proof legal framework that simplifies and clarifies business registration processes and will allow it to embrace technology and incorporate electronic registrations," said Deputy Registrar at the New Zealand Companies Office, Mr. Michael Brosnahan.

PSDI is an ADB technical assistance program undertaken in partnership with the governments of Australia and New Zealand. PSDI supports ADB's 14 Pacific developing member countries to improve the enabling environment for business and to achieve inclusive, private sector-led economic growth. ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.