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Company registration going online

The forum provided participants the opportunity to learn how to register their companies using the internet. The new portal (www.services.cac.gov.ng) will enable customers register their…

The forum provided participants the opportunity to learn how to register their companies using the internet. The new portal (www.services.cac.gov.ng) will enable customers register their companies from the comfort of their offices or homes and also throw open the much expected window to ease business registration.
From the power point presentation, registration of companies has become easy and simple, avoiding the unnecessary hassle of having to go to CAC a number of times before getting the job done.
 A lawyer at the sensitisation forum had enquired from the presenter if in reality it would be that simple, without complications, “a trial would convince you” was the response he received.
This young wig decided to give it a try. I went online, created an account, reserved two (2) names given to me by clients (the name would be booked for two weeks pending when payment is made), a reference number is generated for the user and preferred mode of payment; be it debit card, going to the bank or through internet banking. The process took less than thirty (30) minutes to complete.
As I wasn’t yet sure of the portal and for avoidance of any unseen issue common with Nigeria when any new initiative comes to town, payment would be through the bank, the first bank I tried said they were not on the platform, the next bank said one must have an account with them before making NIBSS ebills payment for CAC; frustration was beginning to creep in, is this online registration really going to work or is it going to face the same fate of other online inventions in Nigeria?
The next day, payment was made at the bank where I have an account and after the payment, a confirmation message of the payment was sent to my mail, twenty four (24) hours later when I checked my reservation history on the portal, the status of the reserved name was out (wow).
One must commend the commission for tapping into the digital age and simplifying the process of company registration. Young lawyers familiar with the use of the internet would find company registration much more relaxing through the use of the portal than the physical registration. Emails sent to a young lawyer’s mail from CAC can be forwarded immediately to the client(s) to keep them posted on developments of their company’s registration as they arise; complaints encountered during the online registration can be sent. Though the website is only at pre-incorporation stage, post incorporation matters are yet to begin online.
The downside, however is that any member of the general public, be it an accredited member of the commission or otherwise, can successfully incorporate a company with the portal. By the provision of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), members of the public can register a business name under Part {A}, but Part {B} & {C} are restricted to legal practitioners, chartered accountants and chartered secretaries, opening up the portal to the general public would not only take away briefs meant for accredited members but is also in violation of the provisions of the law.
It is understood that lawyers might be skeptical about the concept of online company registration due to certain issues attached; network may not be strong at the time one wants to do his registration, one may encounter difficulty in operating the portal till completion, payment may not be as simple as it seems etc. A young lawyer should however not allow these challenges to make him abandon the concept, globalisation has taken legal practice digital and a young lawyer can only be grateful to begin practice in this era that technology has made things simple.
If a platform has been created to ease company registration within forty eight (48) hours, young lawyers should equally make use of it and where the portal is found wanting, contribute in making it work effectively.

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