By Dapo Akinrefon
As a way of ensuring the integrity of its database and to provide easy access and retrieval of the registration records by staff and customers electronically, the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, has embarked on the rapid digitization of all legacy records into suitable electronic formats. The move, according to the commission, is aimed at revolutionizing business incorporation in Nigeria.
Recently at an in-house seminar, organized by the Registry Department of the Commission on the institutionalizing customer satisfaction, the Registrar General, Mr Bello Mahmud, emphasized the need for continuous innovation and training of service providers to institutionalise the culture of service.
He said: “an ill-equipped service-staff is a key factor that brings about weakness in public service.”
The Commission’s boss noted that the commission decentralized its operations by opening offices in all states of the federation, with two in Lagos and one in Abuja, “so that company formation and incorporation from start-to-finish will be made possible in every state. The state offices can now incorporate business entities, print, seal and issue certificates of incorporation to customers without recourse to the head office.”
Prior to this, the mode of registration was fraught with challenges of duplications, mistakes in names, mistakes in registration numbers, pilferage, mutilation of records and fraudulent fillings amongst several other problems.
As a way to tackling this, one of the major reforms carried out was the amendment and the re-strengthening of its regulatory frameworks, established practices and conventions that were not properly addressed by the substantive provisions of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) of 1990.
To ensure prompt delivery of services, the Commission identified about 200 sections that needed to be reviewed entirely.
It was, however proposed that a full re-enactment of the Act of some key features of the review was needed.
Registrar General of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, explained that if all the identified provisions are corrected, the amended Act “will strengthen its regulatory and enforcement capacities to effectively discharge its functions so as to promote best practices and good corporate governance in the management of companies, business names and incorporated trustees.”
Perhaps to achieve its aim of revolutionizing the commission, the Mahmud led commission introduced the e-registration technology, which aimed to counter the laborious manual procedures in company formation and registration.
Known as the Companies Registration Portal (CRP), the new software which was introduced on February 2, 2015 replaces the old Content Pinnacle platform, which its vendor could not guarantee essential upgrades to would meet operational needs.
The CAC Registrar General noted that “no sooner the online and real-time portal for registration platform was introduced that the Commission began to witness an upsurge in incorporation of companies and business names.”
Mr Mahmud, who briefed the 2015 annual general conference of the Nigeria Bar Association in Abuja, told delegates present that, “the Commission received and processed a total of 95,216 online applications within six months of the launch of the CRP. The breakdown shows that registration of Limited Liability Companies was 32,664, while that of Business Names and Incorporated Trustees were 55,882 and 6,664 respectively.”
Commending the management team led by Bello Mahmud on the innovative drive, analysts and stakeholders expressed satisfaction with the manner Mr Bello used to coordinate the functions of all sections of the Commission so as to work together as one cohesive unit.