In November when the Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said he will make deliberate attempt at lowering the cost of doing business in Nigeria through policies formation and review, I doubted him and I was wondering how he was going to achieve that. I was surprised when Federal Government approved a downward review of the cost of registering a company with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission.
The statement, signed by the Assistant Director/ Head, Media and Publicity, NIPC, Mr. Joel Attah, said the downward review from N50,000 to N15,000, was designed to make Nigeria highly competitive in line with international best practices.
For me, the downward review of business registration in Nigeria was a welcome development as it will make Nigeria more business friendly and also enhance the country’s national competitiveness as a Foreign Direct Investment destination.
As if the downward review was not enough, government also kicked off its start-to-finish 24-hour business incorporation service. To me, this was more welcoming and I will just say it was a landmark achievement.
Since the commencement of its 24-hour start-to-finish business registration in November, Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in February made known to the general public that they have registered a total of 10,723 businesses. Though the start-to-finish business registration was only commissioned in 3 centres (Abuja, Oregun and Yaba), but the remarkable achievement was what gladdens my heart and that of many Nigerian’s business men and women and even international communities.
In the past, registration of businesses by CAC was done manually and this takes a month to four months to get your business registered. It took me almost 3 months to get my company’s certificate of registration. The reason for delay was that by first company name was rejected as similar name was already available and I had to present a new name.
According to the report made available by the Senior Special Assistant to the Minister of Trade and Investment on Corporate Communications, Yemi Kolapo, indicated that the total number of applications for business registration received by the Commission within the last four months was 20, 800. A breakdown of this shows that out of this number, the commission’s head office in Abuja received 19,919 while Oregun and Yaba Offices received 653 and 228 applications respectively.
The CAC report stated that the Abuja office processed a total number of 10,292 applications within 24 hours, while the Oregun and Yaba offices processed 398 and 33 applications, respectively.
Meanwhile, the total numbers of applications processed within 72 hours were 8,759 while the total number of applications that were pending after three days stood at 1,318, with the Abuja office accounting for 1,211 applications.
Commenting on the report, Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission, Bello Mahmud, said a review of the business registered over the period is necessary in line with the directive of the Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, to let the public know that the 24-hour registration service was working and also state common errors that had made some applications fall out of the 24-hour deadline. He also stated that the reasons why some businesses have failed to be registered within the 24-hour period were because many customers failed to comply with “laid down requirements for business registration.
According to him, “Customers have a responsibility to ensure that all necessary requirements are met before filing their applications. The CAC only processes applications that have complied in all respect with laid down requirements. The applications processed outside 24 hours but within 72 hours were the ones that had been queried for non-compliance with laid down requirements.”
He elaborated further on the reasons for some businesses not registered within the 24hrs and I quote “Such applications pending after 72 hours were applications queried for non-compliance and in which the applicant did not comply with the query within 72 hours of filing,” he added.
So for those who want to register their business, please ensure all necessary materials are in place before proceeding. You can go to CAC office near you to make enquires.
Another good news is that you don’t have to hire a lawyer to register your Public Limited Liability Company; you can do that by yourself.
According to information on CAC website, www.cacnigeria.org, registration of Limited liability Companies can now be processed directly by the first Directors/Subscribers to Memorandum and Articles of Association similar to what obtains in the case of Business Names and Incorporated Trustees. This is part of the Federal Governments Investment Climate Reform Programme aimed at reducing cost of doing business in Nigeria.