The Nigerian government has been striving to ensure the country becomes more business-friendly across all sectors. One key agency that has been described as a bridge to the ease of doing business in the country, is the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The CAC is not just any other institution, it is statutorily the custodian of corporate activities in Nigeria. For that reason, the Commission is key to the smooth running of businesses in the country.
The processes for business incorporation are among the metrics for determining how flexible it is to do business in an economy. Before now, investigation into the activities of the CAC in August 2021 found many operational and systemic lapses in the organisation responsible for registering businesses in the country, including slow staff response time, persistent server downtimes, an unnecessarily tedious registration process and the commission’s unyielding indifference to these inefficiencies.
But now, the CAC could pass basic efficiency and transparency test in best practice environments, a new Executive Order 001 (EO1) compliance report by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) identified CAC as being among the five top-performing MDAs that promoted transparency and efficiency in Nigeria’s business environment for 2022.
Jumoke Oduwole, a former special adviser to the President on ease of doing business and PEBEC secretary, said the top-performing MDAs differentiate themselves by achieving a balanced performance on both the efficiency and transparency scales, across the three cross-cutting directives of transparency, default approval and one government.
“Efficiency measures an MDA’s compliance with service delivery timelines, as well as compliance with the default approval and one government directives of the EO1, while transparency is measured based on the existence of an updated website, interactive online service portal, detailed timelines, costs, statutory requirements and customer service contact details,” she said.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Abuja is living up to public expectations courtesy of the measures introduced by the new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.
The essence of CAMA is to enhance the ease of doing business in Nigeria as it provides a framework for reforming identified onerous legal, regulatory, and administrative bottlenecks. Interestingly, the CAC has been assisting in easing the process of doing business effectively and efficiently in the country.
Search for availability of company names which initially took months, now does not last more than a few hours at the CAC.
Meanwhile, customers applying for certified true copies of documents at the commission swiftly get them within a reasonable time.
Investigation also found that the days of inadequacies that resulted in many customers handing over the process of registering their business and other post-incorporation registrations to staff of the CAC, has reduced drastically.
By regulation and law, staff members of CAC are exempted from doing so.
Besides, on several occasions, the CAC had announced to the public that company registration in Nigeria could be expeditiously done online and that certificates of such registered companies could be printed online in one’s office. This saves time, and informal costs incurred in the interaction with government officials including transportation, unofficial tips and unnecessary delays would be eliminated. All this enhances transparency.
Under the CAC’s Registrar-General and Chief Executive Officer Garba Abubakar, the agency has come up with the use of technology, so that its customers do not have to visit its offices, while companies can do their transactions from anywhere.
This is the way the world is operating; you don’t see customers around any CAC anywhere in the world. We are working hard to have a very robust solution that will allow us to render services to our numerous customers electronically so that anybody can deal with us from everywhere.
Some of the issues bedevilling business and company registration have been resolved. The lackadaisical attitude exhibited by staff members have reduced, as erring staff members are sanctioned adequately.
The CAC is the premier agency to enable the government’s ease of doing Business programme. It has been the greatest bridge in the corporate world. Many lawyers in the country have been able to print status reports for their foreign or their local clients.
“Banks now easily process new facilities, as new clients get their corporate documentation in no time. The CAC portal which is the repository of all corporate information in Nigeria is now running.
The system is devoid of institutional lethargy, as the management of the CAC has been plain in all its runnings. Their claims of 24-hour registration are verifiable. Though, there could be system breakdown, it will take at most a week to get your documentation done.
The staff, processes and systems of CAC are quite efficient, more local companies are registered, international investment location decisions now favours the country; resulting in higher levels of entrepreneurial activity, more employment opportunities, increased government tax revenues and better personal incomes.
Under the CAC’s registrar-general, Garba Abubakar, the organisation has over the years been committed to continuous improvement in its processes and procedures.
He said recently that the commission’s Customer Relationship Management in line with global best practices was active for customers to leverage and resolve challenges in record time.
SERVICOM, the federal agency responsible for promoting effective and efficient service delivery in ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) recently touted the CAC’s service delivery index as being within acceptable limits and so far, the highest among government agencies in the country.
The Commission over the years, has adorned itself the breastplate of integrity, efficiency, competence, and transparency in the discharge of its duties, earning the confidence of both the local and international stakeholders.
Olamide Adeniji is a member of the editorial team of TheScript Newspaper