The Corporate Affairs Commission on Tuesday said that all Churches, other religious bodies and Associations must submit their financial statements annually to the commission in line with the new Companies and Allied Matters.
The Registrar-General/Chief Executive Officer, CAC, Alhaji Garba Abubakar, who said this on TVC News, Business Nigeria programme monitored by our Correspondent, noted that the financial statements must be submitted to the commission annually.
He also said churches, other religious organizations and associations registered with the CAC must ensure that their accounts are audited and they must also keep daily records of their income and expenditure.
President Muhammadu Buhari had on August 7 assented to the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 recently passed by the National Assembly.
The new Act repealed the Companies and Allied Matters Act, Cap. C20, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2000 and enacted the Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020 to provide for the incorporation of companies, limited liability partnerships, limited partnerships, registration of business names together with the incorporation of trustees of certain communities, bodies, associations; and for related matters.
This Act is seen as a good innovation into the Nigerian corporate and commercial business industry after almost 30 years of abiding by the repealed CAMA.
The CAC boss said the new Act is made up of 870 Sections, as opposed to the 613 sections in the 2004 Act) and is divided into seven parts.
Part A deals with the Composition of the Corporate Affairs Commission, Part B provides for Incorporation of Companies, Part C deals with Limited Liability Partnership, Part D provides for Limited Partnership, Part E covers the registration of Business Names, Part F guides on registration of Incorporated Trustees and Part G deals with general provisions and the establishment of Administrative Proceedings Committee.
The Christian Association of Nigeria had last Thursday, rejected the new Act, describing it as ungodly and a time bomb waiting to explode.
The body said it rejected the idea of bringing the church under the control of government.
The President of CAN, Dr Samson Ayokunle, rejected the amended law in a statement by his Special Assistant, Media and Communications, Adebayo Oladeji.
He said, “The law, to say the least, is unacceptable, ungodly, reprehensible and an ill-wind that blows no one any good. It is a time bomb waiting to explode.”
But speaking on the development, the CAC boss said the law is not targeted at taking over the operations of any religious association.
He said that the new CAMA was enacted by the government to strengthen the regulatory framework as well as boost the ease of doing business initiatives of the Federal Government.
He explained that the law has upgraded the minimum standards required by Companies and Associations in the area of transparency and accountability.
The Registrar-General noted that the law provides the minimum standards on how these organisations should be governed, adding that once an association submits itself for regulatory oversight through registration, then it must play in line with laid down rules.
Abubakar said the provision on suspension of Trustees has stated the grounds upon which the government can intervene in the affairs of an association.
He said, “The new CAMA is to strengthen the regulatory framework and on either ground outside what is enshrined in the law, CAC cannot suspend without recourse to the court.
“Within the Association, the power to suspend lies with the general membership. But the challenge that we have with all these Associations that are being registered us that there is no difference between the Trustees and the members.
“An association that you think have 1,200 members , check our records and you will discover that the Trustees are from the members and by law the members are the ones to suspend the Trustees and so how do you want them to suspend themselves.”
He added, “The law now requires that there must be accountability. The Association must file it’s financial statements every year with the CAC together with its annual returns and the account must be audited.
“They must maintain income and expenditure records on daily basis and every money spent has to be recorded.”
He said despite the criticisms that have beclouded the intentions of the goverment with the new legislation, there are many innovations that would promote the ease of doing business.
He said for instance that under Section 18(2) CAMA 2020, the minimum number of people that can set-up a private company has been reduced to one by the provisions of the Act as opposed to the former minimum requirement of two people.
To achieve this, he said there must be a Statement of Compliance to be signed by the applicant or his agent confirming that the requirements of the law with respect to registration has been complied with thereby expunging the need for a legal practitioner or Notary Public attestation under Section 40 CAMA 2020.
He also said the use of Common Seal is no longer mandatory for companies by virtue of Section 98 of the new CAMA 2020.
Abubakar further explained that disclosure of capacity as shareholder is no longer restricted to Public companies, adding that by virtue of Section 119 CAMA 2020, any person with significant control over a company shall, within seven days of becoming such a person, indicate to the company in writing the particulars of such control.
He also said tbe Corporate Affairs Commission is also mandated to maintain a register of persons with significant control upon notification by the Company.
In the area of reduction of filing fees for registration, he said the total fees payable to the CAC for filing has been reduced to 0.35 per cent of the value of the charge with a projected 65 per cent reduction in the associated cost payable under Section 222 (12) CAMA 2020.
He also noted that the law has now introduced exemption from appointment of company secretary for small private companies.
In the area of insolvency, he said the new act has introduced provisions for rescuing a company in distress to prevent it from being insolvent.
This, he noted, would help to keep the company alive through Voluntary arrangements, Administration and Netting.