CAC COMMENCES 24-HOUR BUSINESS REGISTRATION
Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga
Nigeria, on Thursday, recorded a major boost in its Investment Climate Reforms Programme, as the Corporate Affairs Commission, a parastatal under the Ministry of Trade and Investment, officially commenced its start-to-finish 24-hour business incorporation service.
What this means is that it now takes just one day for anyone to register or incorporate a business.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, said the inauguration of the one-day start-to-finish business registration marked an important milestone in the efforts of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration to reposition the nation's business environment.
He spoke during the inauguration of the Alausa office of CAC and the commission's 24-hour start-to-finish incorporation service in Lagos.
Aganga also directed CAC to open a complaints' register for customers, who might be unable to register their businesses within 24 hours.
He said, 'The Lagos offices in Yaba and Alausa can now accept incorporation documents and process the certificates from start to finish within 24 hours. The same thing goes for the head office. This is encouraging in line with global best practices and useful for investors, who will want to commence business urgently.
'The target is to ensure that companies are registered within two hours and to institute a vibrant and transparent companies' registry, where services will be user-friendly. However, to show that we mean business and that we care about our customers, I direct that a complaints register be opened for anyone who is not able to get his company registered within 24 hours.'
The minister said the frustrations that had been spelt out by business concerns in relation to the procedures at CAC before its reorganisation and repositioning were basically as a result of the non-computerisation of its operations.
He said, 'The process of incorporation and other services were manual, registration numbers were manually picked and certificates of incorporation were manually typed. It, therefore, took months to register a company.
'But the management of the commission, under the supervision of my ministry, has embarked on programmes/projects that have transformed the commission into a modern company registry. Some of these include the relocation of the commission's head office, review of its incorporation processes, computerisation of its operations and improvement of its human resources.'
Aganga said the inauguration of the new office and the one-day start-to-finish registration of businesses underscored the commitment of the current administration to providing the enabling environment for trade and investment to thrive, and improving the nation's Doing Business ranking.
'Studies have found that the creation of new businesses is a significant indicator of the level of economic growth and development of a country; in addition to the job creation and wealth generation that come with it,' he added.
The minister stressed that his ministry had strengthened its One-Stop-Shop Investment Centre as part of efforts to improve the country's business environment and enhance the ease of doing business.
Aganga said, 'We have also strengthened the One-Stop Investment Centre in the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission to pave the way for efficient coordination of investment facilitation between all relevant government agencies and achieve 48-hour response target for all enquiries. We are already seeing the positive impact.
'The Investor Care Committee and Doing Business and Competitiveness Committee, inaugurated earlier on in the year to proactively address the day-to-day concerns of investors and businesses are now very active; while the establishment of a Competitiveness Council to improve Nigeria's competitiveness has already been approved by Mr. President.'
Speaking during the event, the Registrar-General, CAC, Alhaji Bello Mahmud, said the agency had put strategies in place to safeguard all customers' documents and information.
He said, 'In order to ease post incorporation activities, safeguard the records and ensure the integrity of all information in the commission, rapid document imaging has been embarked upon through the conversion of our manual records to suitable electronic formats.
'On completion, records of all companies, business names and incorporated trustees will be available electronically and manual searches will be abolished. Customers will be able to access these records from the comfort of their offices and homes and pay the search fees, using electronic payment system.'