IoD Nigeria Forum: Stakeholders Steer A Pathway For the CAMA Act 2020


Monday, November 30, 2020 / 7:57 AM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

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Stakeholders in the public and private sector reviewed details of the recently signed company and allied matters act (CAMA) 2020 and how it could transform Nigeria's business environment. Chief Chris O. Okunowo, F.IoD President and Chairman Governing Council, IoD Nigeria in his welcome remarks acknowledged that the theme was chosen in recognition of the issues in the CAMA Act since August 2020.

He was of the opinion that the 2020 CAMA Act had generated controversies and brought about challenges and likely adverse consequences for business organizations.

The Institute of Directors Nigeria according to him was an authoritative voice that interacts with the government and advocates on several related issues that helps to bring and provide clarity with those in the space as it concerns corporate governance, the business environment and public service.

Chief Okunowo speaking at  a recent virtual National Stakeholders Forum that discussed the theme "The CAMA Act 2020: Matters Arising and The Way Forward" highlighted the following objectives of the National Stakeholders Forum which aimed to achieve:

  • An Open agenda for further discussions
  • The Facilitation of a conversation among stakeholders
  • The development of policy and institutional support
  • The Creation of further awareness of the expectations of the 2020 CAMA Act on businesses and investors
  • The Collaboration with government to achieve seamless implementation of the CAMA 2020 Act

In his keynote speech Alhaji Abubakar Garba, the Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) said that key stakeholders from several sectors were a part of the CAMA committee.

Alhaji Garba mentioned that the gazetted copy of the CAMA Act was made available on the 19th of November 2020 and warned individuals and organizations to be wary of the fake copies in circulation. He however revealed that a request for an electronic format has been made.

The Registrar General also highlighted the fact that the CAMA 2020 will help to ensure appropriate regulation for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises and to achieve transparency in local business.

He also brought to the fore the plans of the commission to assist in developing more robust regulations for the business environment in Nigeria.

According to him the National Stakeholders forum explored quick transition in the new legal regime to align operations with provisions of the Act and to promote an understanding of the new business models provided by CAMA 2020.

Speaking on a new software that would be launched in January 2021 by the Commission, the Registrar General assured stakeholders that the new software would have an updated and simplified interface but would recognize the role of lawyers, chartered accountants in representing their clients.

He stressed the fact that the commission is working assiduously to ensure that the infrastructure needed to implement the CAMA Act, is ready which will help strengthen the Nigerian Business Environment.

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Professor Konyinsola Ajayi, SAN, Managing Partner, Olaniwun Ajayi LP gave insights into insolvency for companies and its impact on employment. He stated that the provisions on insolvency brings clarity to concepts that are evolutionary and international. He identified cash flow insolvency and balance sheet insolvency as key types to take note of.

Speaking on the concept of 'Netting' he said it allows multiple transactions to be settled and is important in the event of insolvency.

Ajayi said that the CAMA Act sheds light on directorship which now implies that a director who sits on the board of a company must ensure that the company is properly run and does not get into trouble.

For him the CAMA Act is very useful as it also looks at international standards, which provides opportunities that will attract foreign investors.

With the new rules and new software in place, Professor Ajayi believed that the CAMA Act will be embraced and enjoyed.

Mr. Ayuli Jemide Founder, Lead Partner Detail Commercial Solicitors in his presentation focused on how the improvements in the  CAMA Act could support investments.

From his perspective four approaches to business law could be identified;

  1. The operational standpoint: He said the CAMA 2020 will make operations easier as it includes a virtual process.
  2. The CAMA Act now allows single shareholder which will aid investment.
  3. The rules around directorship may help in encouraging investments
  4. The new CAMA Act now allows private companies to have electronic meetings, electronic filing systems.

Jemide said the CAMA Act now recognizes limited liability partnerships which would help the SMEs as the issue of segregation now comes to play.

"The CAMA Act is a well drafted law that will help to move the economy forward and  one of the key revisions should be from the standpoint of independent Directors" Jemide said.

In her contribution Mrs. Abimbola Akeredolu, SAN, and Partner, Banwo & Ighodalo said Small, Medium Enterprises and Start-Ups will benefit immensely from the enactment of CAMA 2020, mainly because it now allows small companies to have a director and shareholder.

Mrs. Akeredolu said it took 30 years to get a major repeal of the CAMA Act, the best law is of very little use if not implemented properly she said.

She made a strong point that the economy of Nigeria will move forward if the CAMA Act 2020 is implemented to its full extent.

The event featured a panel session moderated by Mr. Chinwendu Enechi, Associate Director, Oil, Gas Power Group, Anderson Tax in Nigeria.

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