In its bid to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria, the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), an agency of the government responsible for the Start-Up of Business, has explored the Information Communication Technology (ICT) to make a paradigm shift in business registration procedures and methods.
A reliable document in the possession of Economic Times highlights major ways ICT has helped improved friendly business ecosystem in the country to include the Company Registration Portal (CRP) which was introduced in 2014 to replace the Content Pinnacle Software which was found to be limited in user ability.
Major benefits of CRP is user-friendly as it affords entrepreneurs on-line and real time access to the services of the CAC from the comfort of their offices or homes using different payment platforms such as inter-switch, e-transacts, master card, verve and visa card. This has made a business registration within 24 hours possible in Nigeria.
In order to get the Commission’s accredited agents (Lawyers, Accountants and Chartered Secretaries) acquainted with the CRP application, the Commission has embarked upon intensive training programme nationwide. The training which is a continuous exercise has been successfully held in Abuja, Lagos and Kano.
CAC has also deployed Document Upload Interface to enable Customers to upload their registration documents online for processing. Customers no longer have to submit documents physically before registration. The Commission processes the application and issue registration certificate based on the uploaded documents while the originals are submitted upon completion of the registration process before the certificate is released by the Commission.
The Commission has also deployed Elkectronic Stamping Integration in order to get the optimal benefits of the CRP and further ease the process of company registration. The CAC has successfully integrated the Company Registration Portal to the Stamp Duty Portal of the FIRS. Customers can now pay and stamp their documents online through the Company Registration Portal. The new e-stamping system has dispensed with the physical submission of documents to FIRS for assessment of manual stamping.
For efficiency and to ensure seamless operation of the Company Registration Portal and zero downtime, CAC has out-sourced the hosting of its main database and operating software to Main-One Data Centre in Lagos. This will ensure 99% uptime thus ensuring efficient registration services.
The Commission has also improved its feedback mechanism as it established a Help Desk Unit to attend to all forms of enquiries and complaints. The Help Desk has five dedicated telephone lines which are: 08182299016, 08182298971, 09087401598, 09087401599 & 09087401600. The Help Desk also has an email service: email@example.com
Also to improve the customer relation, the Commission organizes on quarterly basis Customers’ Forum, where Management interacts with stakeholders and members of the public for feedback on its services. At such forum, the Commission listen to members of the public on their expectations and demands and resolutions are reached. The Forum is held in rotation in the six geo-political zones.
The CAC has digitized its database, better known as Legacy Record, in order to ensure the integrity of the system and provide for easy retrieval of the registration records. It also enables ease access of database by staff and Customers electronically.
The digitalization of records of these registered entities i.e., Limited Liability Companies, Business Names and Incorporated Trustees will serve the convenience of the Customers and stakeholders and achieve the desired delivery benchmarks set by the Commission. It will enable members of the public carry out searches and due diligence electronically.
One of the laudable achievement of CAC under the leadership of Barrister Bello Mahmud is the review of Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) which has been in operation for over 25 years without any substantial amendment.
The Commission has carried out an in house review of CAMA to bring it in line with global best practices in Company Regulation and administration. Given the extensive nature of the review covering about 200 Sections, the Commission has proposed a re-enactment of the Act.
The CAC is also implementing the revised service timelines for registration services as: Name reservation – 12 hours from submission of request: New registration of Companies, Business Names and Incorporated Trustees – 24 hours from filing of application.
The Commission is now opened for transaction from 8.00am to 7.00pm from Monday to Friday in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Kano, Enugu and Port Harcourt.