How to Register a Business in Nigeria within 3 weeksKehinde LAWAL
The business name: ColossalNet Technology Limited belongs to me and it was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Nigeria on24th November 2016. I used the business name to open a corporate current account with Wema Bank PLC . If you are a small business owner, please go and register your business name with CAC. Registering your business gives you a sense of professionalism and it makes people take you serious.
The CAC (http://www.cac.gov.ng, http://cacnigeria.org) regulates the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. It is empowered by the Nigerian law to handle all issues associated with company registration, business names, and incorporated trustees in Nigeria. If you want to register your business name in Nigeria without involving a third party ( eg laywer, agent etc), you will have to go directly to any of the CAC branches all across the country. CAC offices are mostly found in most of the state capitals in Nigeria.
Why Register a Business Name?
Registering your business name is highly encouraged. It gives you the legality to use the name to do business. It will make so many people to have confidence in doing business with you. In fact, without a registered business name, you will not be able to do business with government parastatals and go into partnership with some big companies. If you run a business without registering it and you get involved in a legal battle, your business maybe shut down.
It took me 6 weeks to register ColossalNet Technology Limited while it took me 2 weeks to register a business name through an agent. It cost me N60,000 to register ColossalNet Technology Limited while it cost me N17,000 to register Just a business name. Though these prices must have changed especially the Limited Liability registration.
Business Registeration in Nigeria: The Steps
==> Walk in to any CAC office. Most are located in the state capitals. You can get the contact info of the CAC state offices at http://cacnigeria.org/jm/
==> Make sure you have at least three different unique names at hand before going to the CAC office
- The names must not contain words like “National”, “Government”, “State”, “Co-operative” etc
- The names must not be similar to any business or trade mark already registered in Nigeria
- The use of the word “Consulting” and registration of some professional services will require that you provide evidence of the relevant professional qualifications and/or registrations. Please try avoiding such if you do not have such professional qualifications.
==> Tell the CAC staff you want to register your business name. You will be told to pay for the ‘Availability Check and Reservation of Name Form’ and file. Both costs approximately N500. You can also download the form from http://cacnigeria.org/jm/.
Below is a screenshot of the form. Note that this might change with time.
==> Fill the form and submit. The CAC staff will guide you in filling it. You will be told to check back, after a week or two to know the fate of the business names submitted. In my own case, the CAC agent called my phone number after 2 days, to come to the office to finalize my registration.
This is the most challenging stage of the whole process because you can’t proceed to the next stage if your business name has not been approved. If CAC disapproves both names submitted, you have to buy another ‘Availability Form’ and go though the process again.
==> If any of the submitted names is approved, you will be told to pay N4,000 for the proper registration of the business name. ( This is subject to change) You can check out all CAC fees here: http://new.cac.gov.ng/home/summary-of-fees-and-forms/
==> You will be provided with a registration form to use in registering the approved business name
Below are the requirements for the business name registration form:
a) the approved business name,
b) the business address,
c) the name of the sole proprietor or partners,
d) the address of the owner/s,
e) two passport photographs of the owner/s.
f) general nature of the business. Mine falls under Home services Delivery and general merchandise/trading. The CAC staff might present a document to you containing the categories of business names. From the list, you will choose the categories that matches your kind of business.
On completion of the form, you will need to submit the form with the receipt of payment of the N4, 000. You will be asked to come for your certificate in 2-4 weeks time. The commission will register the name after satisfying that the necessary documents and information are in place. Once you collect your certificate of registration of business name, you can boast anywhere of running a legal business.
After completion of the registration you will need to go to the state board of internal revenue or any FIR office to get tax identification number and finally get a tax clearance for your staff in order to properly run your company any where in the country.
I hope this helps.
If you have contributions or questions to ask, kindly relay them via comments.
Always at your financial success,