Companies in Nigeria may soon be required to become a member of Chamber of Commerce.
This is part of a proposal under consideration between the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
The leadership of ACCI led by its President, Dr Al-Mujtaba Abubakar and the management of CAC led by its Registrar General, Alhaji Garba Abubakar met on Monday in Abuja to strategize and execute the initiative.
According to both parties, the initiative will sanitise the economy and increase oversight on activities of companies in Nigeria.
In his submission to the CAC, Dr Abubakar said “we are here to seek partnership on a major campaign we are embarking on- Making all companies in Nigeria member of a Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This policy exists in Europe, Middle East and South Asia because it has a lot of advantages.
“We have prepared a concept note that articulates our proposals, its merits and process of implementation. In summary however, we seek a two staged implementation process, the first being optional request for companies to indicate Chamber of their choice during registration with CAC and the second is a legislation to make Chamber membership mandatory.
“Advantages of our proposal are many namely: Membership of the Chamber allows for post -registration monitoring and partnering; It is easier for government to implement financial interventions for the companies as Chamber normally stands as guarantor.
“It helps government to carry out inclusive consultation since the companies belong to one chamber or the other; It is easy for tax authority to expand tax base and enforce tax compliance; It is easy for company regulatory authority like CAC to verify and monitor registered companies since they belong to one Chamber or the other;
“It is easy for companies’ registration authority like CAC to get regular annual report from companies since they belong to one Chamber or other; It is easy for export facilitating agency to trace and track companies involved in export businesses and convenient for international investors to verify the credibility of potential local partners”, he said.
While responding to the position paper submitted by the ACCI President, the CAC Registrar General described the proposal as “a timely move from the Chamber movement as it is a subject that will strengthen the mandate of CAC and facilitate business operations in Nigeria”
He noted that post-registration monitoring of companies in Nigeria is a major challenge to the CAC, noting that many registered companies mostly abandoned their statutory responsibilities once they receive their certificates of registration.
According to Abubakar, the proposal will create a common platform through which CAC can better coordinate and relate with registered companies especially many of them hardly file returns 20 or even 30 years after registration.
While supporting that the Chamber has a critical role in create post-registration ecosystem, Abubakar posited that in other climes, companies are not only compulsorily members of business Chambers got even the registration of companies are domiciled in the Chamber of commerce.
Citing example of Brazil where Chambers of Commerce handles company registration, the CAC boss said the partnership between ACCI and CAC on this proposal will go a long way to simplify their work, promising to look into the proposal by reviewing the concept note.
“We will look into it and see how we can integrate it in our regulations through persuasive means at the beginning by making them understand the benefits of registering with Chamber of Commerce. The inclusion in regulations will be a major movement in making the proposal a reality”, he said.
Abubakar who said Chambers of Commerce are widely spread and organised across Nigeria noted that CAC is ready for this partnership which he described as mutually beneficial and in the best interest of the country.