No fewer than 44,000 companies operating in Nigeria have so far been de-listed from the database of the Corporate Affairs Commission(CAC) even as it registered 1.5 million other companies.
According to the Registrar General of CAC, Barrister Bello Mahmud in an interview with the Economic Confidential in Abuja, the development was sequel to several breaches of the Companies and other Matters Act (CAMA) and other extant regulations of the commission.
Some of the infractions, he explained, including late and outright refusal to file returns.
“So far, there is an improvement and a current ratio of 45 percent. We are still checking on company records especially in terms of compliance for those who have not been filing. If we discover you are not a going concern, the law establishing us gives us the power to delist from our database.” he said.
“If we discover and write you first, second and third letter without reply, we now deem it that you are not a going concern and we delist you from our database. So far, the first batch we delisted were about nine thousand (9000) And in the second batch about thirty-five (35,000) totalling 44,000 firms delisted from our database and is still ongoing.
“Unfortunately, these companies are “briefcase” companies because when you check on the addresses given, you won’t find them. We are still compiling the list and before the end of this year you will see more de-listed companies.”
He said that about 1.5 million firms have so far been registered by the commission.
Speaking on the clampdown on touts and illegal use of business names, the CAC boss said touts are no more in the premises of the commission “because if you can do it yourself you don’t even need to hire a lawyer and that is part of what the government has told us to do. If you want to register your company now, you can do it yourself.
“Just go to our portal and create an account for yourself. If you cannot do it on your own, then contact a lawyer, chartered Secretary or an Accountant. And these people can file documents on your behalf. Only these categories can access our portal and your very self. Touts have been completely eliminated.”
He said that as part of the efforts by the government in instituting the Ease of Doing Business, the commission has reduced filing fees to make it easier for people.
“For anybody registering a company of one million to half a million, we have reduced such fees by fifty percent. And from five million to any amount we have reduced them by 25 percent to encourage Ease of Doing Business.”
He said that the development had resulted in the loss of revenue to the commission, adding: “you know we don’t receive any allocation from the government. What we generate here is what we use for our operations.”
On the Commission’s feat in information technology to drive the registration process, Barr. Mahmud said: “the trend now is information technology(IT). You can’t do any online registration now as I told you without the use of IT. Our operations are ICT-based.
“As we speak, anybody can register in both United States and United Kingdom without necessarily coming to Nigeria. You can file from anywhere in the world and you cannot do that if we are not ICT-based.”
He said that the only challenge the commission has now has to do with old records that have not been captured.
“If you want to make a search on old records, you have to come to us physically. But we are doing all we can to upload them so that you can search without coming to us, and that would be done gradually in the coming months.
“If you ask us online, a Certified True Copy(CTC) would be made available to you and payment online.”
According to him, there are ongoing projects to make the operations run smoothly and that has to do with the online registration.
“We now have regulations and requirements which were not there before. The regulations are now online and anybody can go there and see our requirements. And by the presidential order, our fees and procedures are all online. If you go to our website you will know how long it will take you to register and get CTC when you apply for them. That is where we are heading to. And even if we are not able to get you at the stipulated time frame, we will equally let you know.” [myad]