The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), that had its forerunner, Registration of business in existence as a department in Ministry of Commerce, was given statutory powers with right of perpetual succession by Companies And Allied Matters Act (1990, CAP.59)
Since 1990, CAC have had series of Registrar Generals in accordance with Section 8of Companies And Allied Matters Act. Each left behind one legacy or the other but in recent time, CAC has nosedived into infrastructure rot, corrupt practices which are hindering the ease of doing business in Nigeria.
By the Act creating CAC, CAC is responsible for the incorporation of companies and incidental matters, registration of business names and the incorporation of trustees of certain communities, bodies and association. Apart from registration, CAC is also responsible for the regulation of how these companies, business names and incorporated trustees conduct their affairs.
With the gradual drying of crude oil and diversification into other sources of revenue, CAC has a crucial role to play in bring small scale startup business on board and make them taxable. As the world moves into conversion of ideas into online applications and e-apps, the role of CAC in registering these companies cannot be over emphasized but rot and corruption has made CAC an epileptic regulator, passing into coma when its services are most needed.
For days without prior notice, the website of CAC will be inaccessible frustrating customers and denying federal government revenue. Foreign investors, who rely on real time transaction are also frustrated and move to nearby West African countries to domicile their companies.
A closer look into CAC and the perennial CAC online services being off line, reveals that the yearly expenditure of close to Two Billion Naira expenditure in provision of ICT is not commensurate with the output because of the contract was not awarded following due process or was the best company given the contract to provide state of the art 21st century ICT infrastructure. Apart from Abuja, all offices of CAC nationwide are not connected to the internet and there is no real time service delivery going on in these glorified business centres.
Instead of concentrating on projects that will improve service delivery, the management of CAC is concentrating on white elephant projects that will be of no service to customers of CAC or will it generate revenue to the Federal Government. A clear example, is the N250,000,000 (Two Hundred and Fifty Million Naira) Only car park project at CAC head quarters located at 420 Tigris Crescent Maitama. This Car park cannot take up to 100 cars. According to a statement made available by Amalgamated Union of Public Corporations, Civil Service, Technical And Recreational Services Employees (AUPCTRE) Corporate Affairs Commission Chapter, this N250, 000,000 was in 2017, reviewed to N1,000,000,000 (One Billion Naira) Only.
Furthermore, the Management of CAC awarded the sum of N300,000,000 (Three Hundred Million Naira) Only for the construction of executive elevator at the head quarters.
The cost of building and furnishing state offices, is also another avenue the management of CAC uses to loot money and corruptly enrich themselves. For instance, CAC office in Katsina state was constructed with the sum of N300 Million and fencing of CAC State offices had N16.5 Million awarded and payed to companies some family and friends of the management has interest in.
One wouldn’t have been stunned or bothered with these expenditures if there are direct reflections in quality of services delivered by CAC. CAC is still analogue despite claims by the management that it had gone digital and provide real time services.
A browse through CAC website will reveal bogus claims of times to deliver on any application. I state that these claims are what they are, bogus, calculated to deceive the Presidency and members of the National Assembly from looking into the festering rot and poor services in CAC. A detailed Senate Committee probe into the activities of CAC in the past 4 years, will reveal rot, corruption whose stench will smell worse than a skunk.
CAC is the next big thing after NNPC but corrupt practices have infested CAC over the years that a serious surgery is needed to cut off this cancer and reposition CAC as a global player that will showcase Nigeria as the ultimate business destination in Africa.
The brazen and arrogant manner the Management of CAC has been ruining CAC with impunity, should worry any patriotic Nigerian interested in Nigeria being a “big daddy” with examples to show to other African countries. Nigeria must fulfill its role to other African countries and she cannot do this if her institutions are not operating in the best global standards.
The administration of President Buhari, has consistently sort means of diversifying the economy and encourage job creation. These laudable objectives cannot be achieved if CAC is not sanitized and a management team that can think outside the box put in place. All members of the Management team of CAC are part of the team that had done same things in the same way and have not secured the required reform that will birth a robust economy and check the impunity with which some companies operate in Nigeria.
The relevant anti corruption agencies like EFCC, ICPC and Presidential Committee on Ease of doing business, should investigate the management of CAC. AUCPTRE and customers of CAC are willing to render all needed information and cooperation to sanitize CAC and make the ease of doing business in Nigeria a reality that will attract investment with consequent job creation and employment.