MORE than 300 businesses in Lusaka had until yesterday to file their annual returns or be deregistered by the Patents and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA).
Only about 400 firms out of the 725 companies earlier earmarked for deregistration had by yesterday morning filed their annual returns during the amnesty period which started on October 1, 2013 and was expected to end yesterday.
PACRA public relations officer Vaida Bunda said in an interview in Lusaka that 17,000 defaulting businesses countrywide had filed their annual returns to the agency since the exercise began.
"About 50 per cent of the 725 businesses which were earmarked for deregistration have so far filed their annual returns," Ms Bunda said.
More than 725 companies based in Lusaka were earmarked for deregistration for failure to comply with the law on submission of annual returns.
Ms Bunda said it was a statutory requirement for every registered business to submit annual returns not later than three months after the end of its financial year.
She said the annual returns which are a statutory requirement were important as they state the position of the company as at the date of the return.
The agency was expecting more businesses by yesterday to file the annual returns before the close of business because the amnesty would be extended.
"Approximately 17,000 businesses have filed their annual returns following the amnesty which ends today (yesterday). So for those businesses who will fail to file their annual returns by the close of business today should consider themselves deregistered and will be erased from the agency's data base," Ms Bunda said.
The deregistration would reduce on the cost of digitalisation and PACRA's database would have been cleaned to create space for new businesses.
Before effecting the deregistration, names of affected companies would be published in the local print media after which the deregistration process would commence.