28th January, 2015
The logjam associated with the process of business registration in Nigeria has been highly frustrating and unbearable. Apart from the fact that the delay affects business and discourages genuine investors, the inefficiency and the shady deals by some of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, staff portray the country in bad light.
A few years ago, there was so much talk about commencing a 24-hour business registration in the country through an electronic platform. The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, was reported to have stated at a business forum the intention of the federal government to start an electronic platform for fast registration of businesses. While unveiling the 24- hour initiative in 2012, the minister stated that the essence was to create a user-friendly platform that will facilitate swift confirmation of business name availability and registration within 24 hours.
Years after, it is quite disturbing that business owners still spend weeks and months to check business name availability or register their business names- except for those who seek the help of an insider to fast track the process and usually with a price. Though report has it that the on- line initiative kicked off, the complaints of server failure due to technical hitches rendered the initiative inefficient. The much talked about 24-hour business registration has been widely criticised and perceived as mere propaganda by the operators.
There have been complaints about the attitude of some CAC staff who engage in shady deals and back-door arrangement to check or register business names in the guise of making the exercise faster. As a result, they demand higher fees; capitalise on the inefficiency in the system to fleece business owners. The onus lies on the CAC to checkmate this unpatriotic practice to save the image of the agency.
The inefficiency and the unwarranted delays have led to a huge loss of revenue that would have accrued to the CAC in the course of business registration. Due to the economic implication and the loss it portends for business owners, the CAC and by extension the economy of the country, it is imperative for the Minister of Trade and other operators to re-visit the scheme and make it more efficient. Aganga on national TV days ago promised to create a robust and efficient E-platform. We hope this won’t be another empty rhetoric like past promises.