The Registrar-General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, Alhaji Abubakar, has vowed to introduce end-to-end digital solutions for company registration that would take over the semi-manual operations of the commission before the end of the year.
Mr Abubakar, who made the disclosure on Thursday during a business news program on TVC News, monitored by DAILY NIGERIAN, said that when that is materialized, customers would have no business visiting CAC offices.
While noting that the pre-registration interface for name search, reservations and online payments had been on since 2014, the registrar-general disclosed that the commission was working towards introducing electronic certificates with QR code for validation.
Speaking on the Companies and Allied Matters Act CAMA 2004 Bill which is correctly awaiting President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent, Mr Abubakar stated that the CAC operations would be greatly overhauled towards serving customers better, as well promoting the Ease of Doing Business policy of the Federal Government.
According to him, the new Bill, if assented to, will go a long way in addressing the shortcomings of the existing Act.
He said: “The existing Act requires that to register a company, there must be a minimum of two persons, while the new law would allow a single person.
“Other requirements that are inconsistent with the Ease of Doing Business policies like provision of a legal practitioner, who must review documents and post a declaration to the CAC that the law had been complied with, are all eliminated by the new law,” Mr Abubakar said.
According to him, such requirements were an unnecessary burden to potential business owners and only added to the costs of registration.
He added that the new law would provide for two legal arrangements; limited partnership and limited liability partnership which are accepted internationally.
He lamented that the current insolvency framework is hostile as companies are always at the mercy of banks or lenders that loans them money.
According to him, this arrangement only kills businesses as it doesn’t have any means of coming up with ways of making repayment or appointing an independent person aside from the bank or lender to manage the company to profitability.
To this end, the CAC registrar-general said the Act has come up with a voluntary arrangement; a new framework under the new bill which would allow the company to appoint an administrator that would manage it.
He said: “When a company is insolvent, the lender, employees of the company and even the government that collects tax are all at risk.
“This is why all stakeholders in the company should be concerned about the survival of the business as well as jobs preservation.”
Another development with the new bill, he said, is a change from the existing provision related to the registration of associations.
“The objective of registering an association or religious bodies says the group cannot share the income it makes.
“However, nobody knows what they collect, let alone how they put it to use or share it.
“With the new provision, the CAC will be able to scrutinize the finances of the organization and when found fraudulent, CAC would have the power to suspend the group’s trustees and send an internal administrator to manage the association,” he stated.
Another significant change in the new law, according to Mr Abubakar, is issues of beneficial ownership disclosure.
“Because of the international concern about money laundering, terrorism financing as well as criminal activities that are carried out with companies, as the vehicles, it is difficult to know what activities are run by a company.
“This new law will enable an open data format, such that anyone can access information of every sub-company under the main company,” the registrar explained.
He also brought to light, the electronic stamp duty that was integrated into the commission’s system two years ago before the introduction of TIN.
He noted that the commission was geared towards having more integration with agencies like the Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, the Federal Road Safety Corps, FRSC and the National Identity Management Commission, NIMC.
This, he said, was in a bid to ease the confirmation of details submitted by business owners rather than moving from agency to agency.