By James Emejo in Abuja
The acting Registrar-General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Lady Azuka Azinge, Wednesday said a nine per cent staff salary increment arrears which had resulted in industrial disharmony in the commission had been settled within her two years of assumption of office.
She said a total of N1 billion was paid out as salary arrears, which effectively put an end to the perennial and industrial unrest which bedevilled the commission before she assumed office.
She also said all outstanding pension arrears valued at over N200 million had been completely cleared under her administration.
Giving an account of her stewardship since heading the agency in acting capacity since October 2017, Azinge, in an interactive session with journalists, also celebrated the successful implementation the Business Incentive Strategy (BIS) under which the cost of registration of business was reduced by 50 per cent to enable MSMEs formalise their businesses.
She added that under the initiative, a total of 244,428 business names were registered within the period.
She said the commission also facilitated the passage of Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Amendment Bill 2019 by the Senate and the House of Representatives, adding that the bill is currently awaiting presidential assent.
Among other feats recorded under her leadership, she said there had been faithful implementation of the presidential executive orders on ease of doing business and other relevant reforms and complete decentralisation of all state offices operations, to ensure that they operate at par with the head office as well as to enable customers pick up their certificates at any location of their choice.
The registrar-general further noted the full closure of manual registration nationwide and deployment of online real time pre-registration services to all state offices through the Company Registration Portal (CRP), to enable members of the public register their businesses from the comfort of their homes and offices within 24 hours.
She further clarified that recent complaints that registered businesses were unable to receive their certificates, were only temporary issues which had since been resolved, stressing that all certificates related issues had now been cleared.
Azinge, however, reiterated the ultimate goal of the commission, which she noted was to make the CAC a world class companies registry providing excellent registration and regulatory services.
She, nevertheless, seized the opportunity to clarify recent spurious online allegations against her and the commission, describing them as attempts to distract her and the management team from the excellent job the commission had been doing which had significantly contributed to the country’s ranking on the Global Ease of Doing Business Index.
“We submit that all the allegations contained in several petitions dished out to different agencies which were published in the media are baseless,” she said.
She said the management of CAC remains committed to the reform agenda of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to take the country to the next level, adding that the reforms had also earned the commission several recognition and awards which from reputable institutions.
However, commenting on one of the allegations that she influenced her remuneration package, Azinge said:”By a letter No T/FAL/233119/S/302117 dated 28th September, 2017 issued by FMITI and signed by O. Ogenyi (Ag. Permanent Secretary for the Honourable Minister, Lady Azuka Azinge was appointed as acting Registrar-General with effect from 9th October, 2017.
“The post of acting Registrar-General qualifies her as an Officer of the commission within the meaning of Rule 6. 06 of the commission’s Conditions of Service to earn acting allowance if she acts at a higher position for 30 or more days.
“It was based on the belief that the acting RG is an officer of the commission that the board on the 8th and 9th February, 2019 considered and approved payment of acting allowance to her. The board’s decision was informed by the fact that Rule 6. 06 mentioned above did not provide details as to what constitutes acting allowance. As a matter of fact, the board at its 74th meeting approved the acting allowances only, which excludes salary. Consequently, the Ag. RG still earns the salary of a director.”
She said:”From the foregoing, it is therefore not true to say that the board upgraded her status from overseeing director to that of acting registrar-general as erroneously reported in the press as her letter of appointment was explicit and crystal clear on the status of her appointment as acting registrar-general.
“It is also not correct to say that the matter was presented to the board twice or that board excerpts on the matter was presented to His Excellency Prince Dapo Abiodun the then chairman of the board and he declined to sign the excerpts for the reason that the matter was never on the agenda.
“The chairman of the board does not sign excerpts. It is rather minutes of meeting approved at subsequent meetings that are signed by the chairman and secretary.
“The media reportage on this matter was deliberate fabrication to portray false recalcitrance…We await proof of this allegation by the authors.”