17 May 2018

Nigeria: Senate Passes Bill to Ease Business Registration

The Senate on Tuesday passed a Bill to repeal and re-enact Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) to make it possible for individuals to register their companies from any part of the world.

The bill comes 28 years after the passage of the original Companies and Allied Matters Act and is expected to make Nigeria the best country in Africa to do business in.

Speaking during the passage of the bill, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said the ease of doing business plays a crucial role in the economic growth of any country hence the need for the Senate to amend the act.

"The processes, rules, and regulations set up by the government or government agencies can either help promote a business-friendly environment or hold businesses back from their entrepreneurial ambitions.

"With the passage of CAMA, we are reshaping Nigeria and we changing how Nigerians do business.

"I thank my colleagues for reaching another milestone on our legislative agenda that will positively impact the lives of millions of Nigerians," he said.

Nigeria currently ranks 145 out of 190 countries in the World Bank's Ease of Doing Business ranking, which rates countries for the ease at which one can open, conduct and close down businesses.

The bill if signed into law is expected to provide significant benefits to companies by reducing red tape and making it easier to comply with regulatory obligations.

Most of the changes are aimed at encouraging investments that will allow small businesses and startups thrive, lower costs and ease regulatory burdens.

Changes included in the bill will mean that many of the over 75,000 private companies limited by shares which are established in Nigeria every year will be able to incorporate more easily.

This will lead to savings in professional fees and substantial improvements to the ease of doing business in Nigeria by comparison to competitors.

The bill will also spur more young people to start new business and will enable an individual incorporate a company. It will enable new young and innovative start-ups the opportunity to operate as separate legal entities without the risk of losing their personal assets.

In addition, small companies will no longer be required to have a company secretary or hold Annual General Meetings and the requirement for statutory declaration of compliance has also been removed.

Minimum share capital required for companies to be registered has also been reduced to encourage more investments in small companies; and individuals will no longer need a lawyer to register a company.

The bill will now be transferred to the House of Representatives for concurrence and further transmission to the president for possible assent.


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