Starting a Business in


Below is a detailed summary of the bureaucratic and legal hurdles faced by entrepreneurs wishing to incorporate and register a new firm in Zambia. It examines the procedures, time and cost involved in launching a commercial or industrial firm with between 10 and 50 employees and start-up capital of 10 times the economy's per-capita gross national income.

This information was collected as part of the Doing Business project, which measures and compares regulations relevant to the life cycle of a small- to medium-sized domestic business in 190 economies. The most recent round of data collection was completed in June 2016.

Compare Zambia to 189 other economies.

  • No. Procedure Time to Complete Associated Costs

    Check the company name for uniqueness

    Agency: Patent and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA)

    The name clearance is done at the Patent And Companies Registration Agency (PACRA). Recently, the online name search was also introduced on the website of PACRA.

    Less than one day (online procedure) ZMK 56 for name search and clearance and ZMK 83 for name reservation

    Have a Commissioner of Oaths sign Companies Form 11 (Declaration of Compliance)

    Agency: Commissioner of Oaths

    Section 9 of the Companies Act Cap 388 of the Laws of Zambia enacted in 1994 requires that Companies Form 11 (Declaration of Compliance) must be commissioned by a Commissioner of Oath.

    The cost varies based on the Commissioner. A Commissioner for Oath who has an office next to PACRA head office charges ZMK 20 to Commission the Companies Form 11, others typically between ZMK 30 - ZMK 80. Other Commissioners for Oath such as bank managers and Commissioners from courts do not charge for this service. They offer this service free of charge.

    1 day ZMK 50 on average

    Register the company

    Agency: Patent and Companies Registration Agency (PACRA)

    The registrar is located at the PACRA. PACRA is a stand-alone office with a customer service center, where the applicant submits the completed Form 2: Application for Incorporation, Form 5: Declaration of Consent to act as a Director or Secretary, and Form 11: Declaration of compliance. He or she then receives a case number to track the application status and pays the fees at the cashier. At the end of the process, the applicant obtains the certificate of incorporation and the certificate of share capital.

    The fees payable to PACRA are as follows:
    - Registration Fee: 2.5% of nominal capital (with a minimum fee of ZMK 250)
    - Certificate of incorporation: ZMK 83
    - Certificate of share capital: ZMK 83
    - Companies Form 5: ZMK 83
    - Companies Form 11: ZMK 83

    3 days see procedure details

    Obtain a tax payer's tax number

    Agency: Zambia Revenue Authority

    To obtain a VAT tax number at the Zambia Revenue Authority (ZRA), promoters must file the Certificate of Incorporation.

    1 day no charge

    Register for Social Security

    Agency: National Pensions Scheme Authority

    In order to register with the National Pension Scheme Authority, the applicant must file an Employer Registration form and attach a copy of the company's Certificate of Incorporation. The employees must complete a membership registration form and attach copies of their National Registration Cards.

    1 day no charge

    Pay business levy

    Agency: Lusaka City Council

    All businesses are required to pay a business levy to commence business activities.

    1 day ZMK 450

    Register for VAT

    Agency: Zambia Revenue Authority

    The VAT registration annual turnover threshold is ZMK 800,000 per the VAT Act Cap 331 and Regulations.

    1 day no charge