Nigeria’s government has started work on making the country more conducive for business and the first peg in that plan has been revealed as increasing the ease in registering businesses within the country’s borders.
In the latest World Bank Doing Business report released two weeks ago, Nigeria ranked in the bottom twenty out of 190 countries for five areas on the spectrum of ease of doing business: paying taxes, registering property, trading across borders, getting electricity and dealing with construction permits.
Starting a business, enforcing contracts and resolving insolvency saw the country ranking 138th, 139th, and 140th respectively among the 190 countries.
Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), which is the body in charge of registering businesses in Nigeria, has, however, announced new measures aimed at making it easier to start a business.
Bello Mahmud, the commission’s registrar, says the commission has “reduced the cost of registering a business by 50%.”
The registrar also said that the process for registering businesses in Nigeria has likewise been simplified to the extent that aspiring business owners no longer need professional help to register. Mahmud says;
“You don’t need a lawyer to register your business for you anymore, … You can now do it yourself. The process is easy now.”
It will be a big improvement on a process that formerly took months to complete with proposed business names taking weeks to vet and the fallout from choosing an already taken name requiring that the aspiring business owner begins the process all over again.
The process was improved last year when an online portal was introduced, cutting down the time needed to register a business to 26 days. By further cutting the cost and eliminating any real need for lawyers or other paid professionals to handle the registration, the process becomes even easier.
Making it easier to register a business is, however, a simple starting point. Other areas of business in Nigeria still need great improvement and the intervention by the government must continue to that end.