There is no gain saying the fact that the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), under the leadership of its current Registrar-General, Alhaji Bello Mahmud has been transformed into a greater and efficiently-run organization, offering excellent service delivery to its customers.
One is therefore worried over the attempt to sabotage the Commission’s services by some unscrupulous elements. Aminu Imam, in this analysis, takes a look at recent developments in the organization and the swift response by the management to fix the hiccups.
The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) is the body shouldered with the responsibility of registering companies in Nigeria. The Commission experienced a total disruption of its registration services on the 15th of August 15, 2014.
The disruption, seen by many as a deliberate attempt to sabotage the Commission’s services came while the Commission was taking necessary steps to deploy a new on-line registration system billed for October 1st 2014.
It is refreshing to note that the Commission has restored services and is making frantic efforts to improve the services to an optimal level through a new on-line system.
The management has announced steps had been taken to deploy a new on-line registration system by the end of the month which it said portends better services for customers.
While apologizing to customers for the disruption in its services, the Commission said it had put in place measures to clear the backlog arising from two weeks system shut down, even as approvals are awaiting collection.
CAC management offered reason for the disruption. It said that the hiccup was caused by a vendor handling its software, which had collected part of his money and yet shut down the system. However, it has reiterated its commitment to advocacy and public sensitization of its programme.
CAC is vital to the growth of the country’s economy and its management has started a new bottom –up application development to be launched in stages, starting with name search and online payment by the end of the month.
This is to be followed by pre- and post-incorporation services and at the conclusion of the processes; CAC services are expected to reach optimum level within the next six months when all applications on services will be automated and available on-line.
The CAC reiterated its commitment to overcome these challenges and further solicit understanding and cooperation of its valued customers and the general public.
In the past, one of the biggest frustrations of potential investors within Nigeria and outside the country was the difficulty in the process of registering a company, filing annual returns and other business matters that have link with the Commission.
There had been instances in the past when some foreign investors who wanted to do business in the country ended up changing their minds due to difficulties encounter to incorporate firms. This, to many potential foreign investors, was a first sign that a lot of bureaucracies awaited them even after incorporation. As such, they often backed out even before they fully got in.
The CAC has however, significantly transformed itself in the past few years. Although, the previous management did a lot to modernize the operations and automate the agency’s systems, the agency still wasn’t able to deliver services online-real time- a key ingredient in speeding up the process of company registration and filings.
Today, at the CAC, Mahmud has initiated and implemented plans that have integrated the state offices across the country with the Head Office in Abuja. He also made sure that the efficiency and effectiveness in the Commission’s operations do not stop at the head office. All state offices have been compelled to up their game to meet expected standards.
The impact of these reforms has been obvious. The number of registered business entities has gone up rapidly since the appointment of the present RG.
Application of information communications technology in governance has started yielding results. The recent adoption of e-registration of companies through the use of electronic work flow has ensured greater efficiency of the system and high data integrity.
Most of these successes were recorded following Mahmud’s decision to upgrade the Commission’s registration software, i.e. Content Pinnacle. One of the features of the software is the e-payment portal that enables clients to make on-line payments for services to be rendered to them by the Commission.
The CAC online system, according to the scorecard released by Alhaji Mahmud, eliminates the problem of name duplication and typographic errors associated with the manual system.
For example, in January, 2013, 1,069 applications were processed within 24 hours, even as the statistics showed that that the applications processed outside 24 hours but within 72 hours were those applications that had been queried for non-compliance with laid-down requirements.
“Such applications were processed immediately the customer complied with all outstanding requirements. Lagos is an important commercial nerve centre of the country. Considering this strategic importance the Commission established two offices in Lagos, one in Yaba and in Alausa.
“In order to actualize its ICT thrust, the Commission embarked on a total upgrade of its WAN from VSAT-based network to a more reliable fibre based system. This was meant to improve availability and also enhance transaction. A pilot scheme in Lagos (Yaba and Alausa) has been completed and commissioned,” he said.
With the commissioning, registration of companies will now start and finish in these offices. Four other state offices in Enugu, Port Harcourt, Kaduna and Kano are being executed by Globacom Limited.
Further, Alhaji Mahmud disclosed that CAC had successfully achieved a 24-hour start-to-finish service delivery period for all new registration services since July, 2012. With the new system, he said, applications for registration are now processed directly at the two Lagos offices and certificates issued to customers within 24 hours.
He noted that the Commission has also concluded arrangements to extend the start-to-finish registration service to its offices in Port Harcourt, Enugu, Kano and Kaduna this year.
“With the new system, customers in Abuja now get their certificates of registration within 24 hours of filing. This is comparable to what obtains in the companies registry of advanced countries such as United Kingdom, Singapore and New Zealand.
The Registrar-General recently emphasized that Quality Management System (QMS) had been a veritable tool for the significant improvement recorded by the Commission in its service delivery.
While presenting the QMS certificate to CAC, on behalf of the International Standard Organisation (ISO) the Director-General, SON, Mr. Joseph Odumodu, has said it was in recognition of the commission’s pursuit of excellence in its service delivery to Nigerians.
He said the QMS adopted by the CAC had helped the Commission to understand customer needs and meet their expectations as well as improve on its set processes and documentation, among others.
According to him, CAC is the first federal government agency among four others to obtain certification on QMS from SON. The result of the Commission’s positive transformation is a far more active, efficient, and transparent organization that facilitates timely delivery of its services to its customers, which is so important to our nation’s economy.
The RG has been able to improve internally-generated revenue, moving it from N3 billion when he took over to over N5.5 billion as at end of 2012. This figure has also gone up in the last two years.
Bello Mahmud once said that his vision for the CAC is to evolve a world-class business registry that will keep accurate and reliable company records using the best technology and driven by a well-motivated workforce.
With the achievements so far recorded, the CAC is poised for greater heights.