The latest World Bank Doing Business report, released two weeks ago, showed Nigeria had made no progress in its ease-of-doing-business ranking. But the country seems determined to change that.
Nigeria’s Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the body in charge of registering companies in Africa’s largest economy, has announced measures aimed at making it easier to start a business. Bello Mahmud, the commission’s registrar, says it has “reduced the cost of registering a business by 50%.”
In addition, Mahmud says, the process has been simplified so that aspiring business owners no longer need professional help to register. Instead, they can simply walk into CAC offices. “You don’t need a lawyer to register your business for you anymore,” Mahmud said. “You can now do it yourself. The process is easy now.”
In the past it often took months to fully register and obtain documents for a new company. Proposed business names took weeks to be vetted, and if a name was already taken, the process had to be restarted from scratch. But with the introduction of an online search portal last year, the commission has cut the time it takes to register companies to 25 days. Cutting the cost and eliminating the need for paid professionals to handle registration will further improve matters.
But, while these measures will make it easier to start a business, there are other business areas Nigeria needs to improve. In the World Bank’s report, which ranks 190 countries across 10 areas of business, Nigeria ranked in the top half in only two areas—getting credit and protecting minority investors.