The question of getting a free business registration online may never have occurred in Nigeria if not for the crippling effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy.
To encourage businesses to start without any hiccups, the Federal Government of Nigeria initiated a plan to create space for free business registration online through the platform of the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC.
The procedure started on October 19, 2020, with 250,000 slots available for new business names’ entry. Although, as of January 2021, it was widely reported that CAC had successfully registered 100,000 business names for free.
The action is targeted explicitly at micro and small entrepreneurs, artisans, craftsmen/women that are yet to formalise their companies.
Free Business Registration Online
According to CAC, the process before registering for the free business name requires entrepreneurs to provide three proposed terms: the commencement of the business, the type of business, location, bio-data of the owners, scanned passport photograph, valid means of identification, phone numbers and email address.
It is important to note that beneficiaries are expected to scan the completed form in PDF format together with a scanned copy of recognised and valid photo identification (data page of international passport, driver’s license, national identity card or voter’s card) and sent via email to the aggregator of their relevant state.
Before gaining access to the form on CAC’s website, here’s a detailed rendition of what to expect:
- At the top of the Form is a Heading termed: ”FG-CAC FREE REGISTRATION OF 250 BUSINESS NAMES.”
- Proposed Business Name: This carries an instruction urging registrants to input suggested names as provided in three boxes displayed as Option 1, 2, and 3.
- Date of Commencement of Business: This is third on the list. A blank box is provided as usual, followed by the General Nature of the Business with instruction asking applicants to give a brief description of the business activities just below another blank space.
- Address of Principal Place of Business: This is where you see instructions on a field to fill in your Address, City/Town/Village, Local Government, State etc. followed by the Address of Branch containing the same features as the initial mention and directive urging that applicants must ensure that the address shown in this section is easily traceable.
- Proprietor’s Details: This is where the second page of the Form starts. Fields to be field under this category include the proprietor’s Surname, First name, Other names(s), Former name(s), Nationality, Former Nationality, Gender, Date of Birth, Phone Number, Recent Passport Photograph, Email, Identity Number, Identity Type (Driver’s License) and Occupation. Last is the proprietor’s address and signature.
- Signature: The need to isolate the signature part on this piece is essential as CAC clearly explained what is expected of the proprietor before signing. A sub-requirement under signature is the Attestation, which states that: I/We, the undersigned, being proprietors of the business named above name at this moment, certify that the preceding particulars are to the best of my/our knowledge and belief, correct and I/we undertake to notify the Registrar of Business Names whenever a change is made or occurs in any of them other than the age of any of the proprietors.
It would be noted that registrants are directed to fill the free business name registration form by electronic means.
Prospective business owners should follow these steps carefully and establish a licensed company free of any infraction and permitted to operate in the specified capacity.
Although licenses of dormant businesses will be revoked after a given period when it’s confirmed that a company has not been remitting tax, generating revenue or has just been inactive for a reasonable time.