By Adedapo Adesanya
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) has reiterated that the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 (CAMA 2020) will reduce the burden of starting and running small businesses in Nigeria as an individual can incorporate a private company.
According to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), this was disclosed by the Registrar-General of the commission, Mr Garba Abubakar in an interview with the agency on Monday in Abuja.
Mr Abubakar said the provisions of the new CAMA would stimulate economic growth, attract investment and promote the Ease of Doing Business campaign of the federal government, especially for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs).
He further said CAMA 2020 provides for individuals to register their businesses with the CAC without going through a lawyer or other stipulated professionals.
He said that under the new act, it was possible for one person to form and incorporate a private company, unlike before when a sole member of a company was impossible.
“For most small entrepreneurs, they do not even have the capital to start the business and some have to borrow the money to even pay the registration fee.
“If you made it mandatory for them to go through professionals before they register, that is actually adding to the cost; it is an unnecessary burden.
“Those that can afford it can pay lawyers and accountants, and those that cannot be able to do their registration by themselves.
“Under the new law, one person can register a company, unlike before when you need a minimum of two persons as directors and shareholders.
“An individual can register a company and he will be the sole shareholder and the sole director, and that company will have all the powers of the company.
“In the past, only a business name was allowed to be registered by an individual but now a company can be registered by an individual,” he said.
The CAC Register-General said that another significant benefit for small businesses under CAMA 2020 was the increase in the threshold for qualification as a small company.
“Under the old CAMA, a small company is one with a yearly turnover not exceeding N2 million and a net asset value not exceeding N1 million; otherwise it is recognised as a large company.’’
He, however, said that CAMA 2020 had substantially increased the threshold to an annual turnover of not more than N120 million, and net asset value of not more than N60 million.
“The implication of the increase is that much more businesses may now take advantage of the regulatory and financial privileges enjoyed by small companies.
“The mandatory requirement for a secretary is now optional, the requirement for filing audited financial statement and appointment of the auditor is also optional for small companies.
“Under the new law, we now have Limited Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership as new legal entities, and this has actually opened windows for entrepreneurs.
“They have a choice to register companies as business name, have Limited Partnership and Limited Liability Partnership, and that actually support the ease of doing business initiative,” he said.
The Registrar-General also said CAMA now recognises the authentication of documents by the electronic signature of a director, secretary, or other authorised officials of the company.
He said that the act also endorsed the electronic transfer of shares and private companies might also hold their general meetings electronically, however, this must be permitted by the articles of the company.
He said that personal notice and a notice of meetings might also be sent by e-mail, and business operations conducted remotely, and electronically endorsed documents would be fully recognised by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
“These provisions are geared toward easing business processes and eliminating challenges associated with strict application of the old CAMA,” he said.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 signed into law the CAMA 2020, which repeals and replaces the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 1990.
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