By Bimbola Oyesola
As part of the Federal Government efforts to encourage investments in the country, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), said it has registered over 3 million business entities between 2016 to 2018.
This is even as it announced that it has slashed cost for business name registration from N10,000 to N5,000, the opportunity which the commission said has been extended from January 1 to March 31, this year.
The Acting Registrar-General of the Commission, Lady Azuka Azinge, speaking during the CAC Customers’ and Stakeholders forum in Lagos said the bulk of the registration was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2018.
She stated that as part of the commission’s contribution to the development of MSME’s, the commission recently launched the Business Incentive Strategy (BIS) to encourage small businesses formalise their business entities by registering same with the commission.
Azinge revealed that in view of the benefits of the BIS coupled with the demand for extension by stakeholders it became imperative for the Federal Government to further extend the period by another three months to enable more MSMEs formalize their businesses.
The Ag. Registrar-General said in the fourth quarter of 2018, 66,687 businesses were registered compared to 23,539 recorded in the previous year.
“The increase in the registration of businesses in the last quarter was due to the 50 percent reduction in the cost of registration and we wish to build on this progress and increase more on the figure this year”, she said.
Informing the stakeholders and participants of the commission’s reform initiatives which were aimed at making business registration simple, fast and cheaper, Azinge said the commission would surpass the achievement in the new year.
According to her, the target of the commission would be to ensure that clients get their certificate within four days of registration of their businesses. She added that the forum was an opportunity for stakeholders and members of the public to have a one-one interaction with top management of the commission.
She noted that the current administration’s agenda to ease doing business had galvanized the commission to further improve on its registration and regulation services to teeming business men and women in Nigeria.
Azinge applauded the working relationship between President Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC), the Ease of Doing Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) and the Commission as well as other critical agencies involved in the doing business matrix.
She said that the effort had significantly contributed to the improved ranking of Nigeria in the global doing business index.
Azinge noted that the post-registration services were now partially automated, to enable state offices fast track the processing of post-registration applications, adding that plans were at advanced stage to make post-incorporation services available online.
To further ease business registration, she disclosed that the commission recently dispensed with proficiency requirement for the registration of all forms of businesses.
‘Under the new arrangement, members of the public do not have to submit proficiency certificate to the commission for registration of companies, business names and incorporated trustees,” she added.
Azinge assured that the commission was committed to reviewing its processes regularly. In that regard, she explained that work was at advanced stage to amend its enabling law, the Companies and Allied Matters Act, (CAMA) in collaboration with the National Assembly. The proposed amendment would enhance the commission’s supervisory and regulatory powers.
In her speech, Jumoke Oduwole, the coordinator of EBES, said that the forum was designed to inform private stakeholders about government’s efforts to ease the business environment; share details on the action plan; and receive feedback to report back to the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC).
“Our vision is a dramatic improvement in Nigeria’s business environment over the next three years to attain Top 100 ranking in the World Bank Doing Business Report, with increased cross-border trading, increased productivity across key economic sectors and an improved business environment that is attractive to both domestic and foreign investors,” she said.