*Strikes out lawyers’ involvement in registration of new firms
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—THE Presidential Committee on Ease of Doing Business has slashed deadline for registration of new businesses from 10 to two days and effected a 24-hour timeline for registration of companies.
This takes effect from when an application form is completed and all required documents made available.
Similarly, it stated that all prospective business owners could now search on Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, portal (www.cac.gov.ng) to avoid duplication of names and prevent selection of prohibited names, while company registration no longer requires lawyers.
According to the committee, it is now optional for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs, to hire lawyers to prepare registration documents.
These were among the highlights of a report presented at a Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council, PEBEC, at yesterday’s meeting held at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
The meeting, which marked the end of the 60-day Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business in Nigeria reforms, was chaired by Minister of Transportation, Mr. Chibuike Amaechi, at the instance of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, who was engaged with the work of the Presidential Investigative Panel.
Other ministers at the meeting included Foreign Affairs Minister, Geoffrey Onyeama; Minister of State for Industry Trade & Investment, Aisha Abubakar, and her counterpart in Budget and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed.
Other government dignitaries at the meeting includedHead of Service, Mrs Winifred Oyo-Ita, and several heads of MDAs.
The report which was presented by Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Trade & Investment indicated that “CAC has introduced single incorporation form (CAC1.1) to save time and reduce costs, while the agency has introduced document upload interface on its website to enable e-submission of registration documents.”
Other aspects of the reforms actualized in the last 60 days included the Integrated FIRS e-payment solution into CAC portal to enable e-stamping while the reform empowers CAC internal lawyers to certify company incorporation forms and conduct statutory declaration of compliance for a fixed fee of N500.
The report also listed dealing with construction permits, getting electricity, registering property, getting credit and paying taxes, as some of the areas where the council has recorded progress in the past 60 days.
It also highlighted the completed reforms on the “Entry and Exit of People,” indicator which includes Simplified Visa-on-Arrival process, infrastructural improvements at Abuja airport, and the new Immigration Regulation 2017.
It further indicated that the completed reforms were being closely monitored to ensure diligent implementation with minimal disruption, while pending reforms were being escalated to ensure completion in the coming weeks.
On Trading across Borders, some of the completed reforms include palletisation of imports, advanced cargo manifests, reduction in documentation requirements and scheduling of Joint Physical Examination by the Customs Service.
The National Action Plan contained initiatives and actions implemented by responsible Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs, the National Assembly, a number of state governments, as well as some private sector stakeholders.
The council emphasised that with the conclusion of implementation of the Action Plan, the next phase would involve “deepening existing reforms; completing and implementing pending initiatives; engaging with the public; validating completed reforms and kicking-off medium-term reforms.”
The council would also kick-start “sub-national reforms across Nigeria’s 36 states; trading within Nigeria; kick-off of initiatives and reforms improving business processes and regulations within Nigeria; and ease of movement of goods within and across regions in Nigeria.”
Speaking to State House correspondents at the end of the meeting, Ameachi said 15 of 22 reforms had been taken, adding that the committee would conclude its work on or before June.
“This is the meeting of the Presidential Council on the Ease of doing business.
We met and we looked at 22 reform items. we have met 70 percent of them. We have done 15 out of 22 and the rest we think we can complete it before June.
‘’We looked at Land registry in states where we are using as pilot; FAAN entry and exit. You have seen the development at Abuja airport. From Abuja, we are going to lagos airport and other airports in the country.
“The vice president is very busy. After sometime, he asked me to chair the meeting. I will go upstairs to brief him,” Amaechi said.
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