MSME Standards: Stakeholders Call On FG to Gazette CAMA ACT 2020 Speedily

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Thursday, September 10th, 2020 / 4:06 PM / Nifemi Taiyese for Proshare WebTV / Header Image Credit: WebTV

 

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Stakeholders have called on the Federal Government to Gazette the CAMA Act 2020 speedily, to improve the ease of doing business in Nigeria.

 

This was a major point that resonated across discussions highlighted by panellists at a recent virtual training organized by the Convention on Business Integrity (CBi) under its MSME Standards project.

 

The forum hosted legal, public sector and corporate facilitators to the MSME training on the CAMA Act 2020 and its requirements for Businesses in Nigeria.


Cynthia Akpomudiare welcomed participants to the session, which is aimed at highlighting requirements of the CAMA to enable businesses to comply, discussing strategies for MSMEs to stay afloat and to provide a perspective of corporate and legal professionals on avoidable pitfalls and how to effectively comply with the Act.


Mr. Soji Apampa CEO, The Convention on Business Integrity/Integrity Organization, speaking on the essence of the event said the importance of CAMA is to understand the obligations for a large number of MSMEs.


Mrs. Tomilola Tobun Intermediate Associate Perchstone and Graeys in her presentation shed light on the gains of CAMA 2020 for MSMEs, the exceptions, provisions and compliance requirements.


She was of the view that CAMA is one of the most significant business legislations in Nigeria with a review coming 30 years after. She defined CAMA as the legislation that regulates the functioning of corporate entities in Nigeria with over 800 provisions.


She stated that one of the underpinnings of the review is the ease of doing business which is why the MSMEs are part of the major considerations as they are the drivers of the economy.


Quoting the National Bureau of Statistics, Tomilola Tobun said there are about 41.5m MSMEs in Nigeria and they contribute about 46% of the GDP of Nigeria and this implies that they are key to the economy, job creation, revenue generation, economic diversification and as such they were also key in the consideration of CAMA.


The alignment of the law with 21st-century technological advancements was also considered with international global best corporate practices for the review of CAMA.


Highlighting the business entities recognized under CAMA she mentioned the following categories of companies which include; Limited Liability Partnerships, Business Names, Incorporated Trustees and Limited Partnerships with some new ones.


Speaking further she said the review of CAMA was also to reduce regulatory hurdles for MSMEs to give them more opportunity to focus on scaling and growing their businesses.


Tomilola Tobun further clarified that the CAMA 2020 is not in effect yet. The CAMA will only be in effect when it has been gazetted and she projected that it should happen in at least a month.


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"Once the new CAMA takes effect, many companies will start regularizing. There is a need to work with regulators to identify the gaps and work around bridging those gaps to increase business efficiency which will help guarantee success results" she said.


Dr. Muda Yusuf Director-General Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in his presentation, focused on the challenges and issues that need to be reconciled to ensure the effective implementation of the CAMA 2020.


Dr. Yusuf emphasized the need for us as a nation to regularly review legislations particularly those that relate to business. He called for those in the advocacy space to do a lot more to ensure that legislations are more contemporary.


The DG, LCCI also made a strong case for other legislations to align with the current business and economic realities.


"The business landscape is very dynamic and static legislation has its way of slowing down business growth and development," Dr. Yusuf said.


Highlighting the challenge in going electronic, he stated the need to guard against the risk of cybercrime attacks which tend to infiltrate business activities but acknowledged that technology was enabling businesses to carry out seamless operations.


Also, many MSMEs provide their service in physical space either through rendering hospitality services, decoration, catering and so on at Annual General Meetings; while digital immigration is a great improvement it could be a disadvantage to some MSMEs that provide their services at these AGMs.


The need for travel will also reduce drastically with revenue for the aviation businesses declining as MSMEs more virtual meetings taking place.


While going digital/virtual is a welcome development, the more businesses go online, the more MSMEs engaged in printing and publishing become endangered and face the risk of extinction.


For him the removal of mandatory audited accounts may pose a threat to small professional accounting firms who provide audits to MSMEs, however, accountants are still needed to prepare accounts.


He further added that "The reduction in filling fees section 223 subsection 12 to 0.35% of the value of the charge is a very good development which we welcome" Dr. Yusuf commented.


CAMA 2020 is one of the responses gotten from the government as a result of various advocacy initiatives from several business communities and associations. Most of the policymakers are disconnected from the businesses hence the need to take issues prevalent in the sectors to them for engagement.


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