By Anthony Areh
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has commenced the implementation of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020), the CAC Registrar-General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar has said.
Abubakar said on Tuesday in Abuja, that the commission had also launched a new self-service portal that allows for end-to-end electronic submission by customers.
President Muhammadu Buhari, on Aug. 7,2020, signed into law the CAMA 2020, which repealed and replaced the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.
Public debate on the new law had been robust since its promulgation, with some describing it as a timely and progressive development in the Nigerian business and economic landscape.
Abubakar said the new law took effect on Jan. 1, and that the CAC had given registered companies till March 31 to update their information.
According to him, the new law provided a robust framework towards reforming identified legal, regulatory and administrative bottlenecks, which had hitherto slowed down the wheel of doing business for over three decades.
“The Honourable Minister approved the Companies Regulation 2021 towards the end of December, 2020 and the approval says it is effective from Jan. 1, 2021.
“Already the implementation has started and we have upgraded software that allows you to register your company electronically.
“The law has come with a lot of innovations and changes to some of the old provisions off CAMA 1990, so we needed to make some changes to bring them up-to-date, consistent with the new law.
“We needed to make necessary changes to the Registration software to accommodate the reforms introduced by the new law, and that took some time.
“The portal started working on Jan. 3 and customers are already using it; so from the comfort of your home or using your own phone, you can nowregister your company”, he said.
Abubakar noted that the new CAMA would strengthen the regulatory and oversight powers of CAC and provide for greater disclosure and accountability by registered entities.
He explained that the commission now had an integrated system that had reduced the time and processes for company registration, in line with the Ease of Doing Business (EoDB) campaign of the federal government.
He said that unlike previous procedures, where certificates were being printed by the commission and then sent to customers through designated courier companies, the new system allowed for end-to-end electronic submission.
“When you file, you get your certificate electronically; and you can either print it or save it, and you get your certified extract, your certified Memorandum and Articles of Association electronically.
“For the first time, post incorporation filings are also been done electronically, in the past they were done manually.
“The upgrade has also introduced a new interface that allows for post registration; so when you register your company, you can change your directors without having to come to CAC.
“Unlike the formal system, where the applications are in silos, where you have different applications for registration, document upload and document archival, the new system is integrated, he said.
As part of the reforms, Abubakar said all documents issued after registration now come with a QR Code that allows one to scan to confirm their authenticity.
He explained that the electronic system of operations allowed officers of the commission to work from home, any day of the week, even during holidays.
“This is one of the best innovations you can have anywhere in the world, as the system we have built is comparable to any other registry you can have anywhere in the world.
“In fact, our own is even different in so many areas, because as at today, there is no registry that uses QR Code for validation.
“Also, public search is available once you can enter the name or address, it gives you information about such company for free.
“If you want to view the details of the company, there is a paid service portion you can click on, where you can view such information for a fee of N1,000, he said.
Abubakar also said that CAMA 2020 enabled individuals to register their businesses with the CAC, without going through a lawyer or any other stipulated professionals.
He said it was now also possible for an individual to form and incorporate a private company, unlike before when sole membership of a company was impossible.