By James Emejo
The Registrar General, Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Mr. Garba Abubakar Thursday said company registration certificates will henceforth be conveyed to customers through courier services or electronically to avoid physical contact with clients amidst efforts to curtail the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
But aggrieved customers had besieged the CAC corporate office to protest the commission’s decision to adopt a new mode of service.
Abubakar said since the easing of the nationwide lockdown as a result of the pandemic, the premises had always been overwhelmed with clients, forcing the management to take a drastic decision in compliance with the presidential task force protocols to stop the spread of the virus.
He explained that effective today, all new certificates will be sent through courier companies while the customers bear the cost of logistics.
He added effective August 10, every other processes involving customers will be accomplished by mail.
The registrar-general said: “We are responsible institution. We have to abide by government directives. We cannot continue with this crowd in this place and some things have to give way.
“What we have done is to insist that mailing and not having any physical contact with customers any longer. From tomorrow all new certificate will be sent through courier companies and the customers will bear the cost because they are paying for transport or buying fuel to drive themselves to this place, they can as well pay the cost of delivery.”
He said only skeletal service was currently being carried out adding that the commission will no longer allow outsiders to have access to sensitive documents as practiced in the past but operate based on accepted global standard practices.
According to him: “We have been forced to revisit the existing system of dealing with our customers because since the ease of lockdown we have been allowing customers to come to the commission to do their transactions but the crowd is becoming uncontrollable and it appears to negating the COVID-19 protocol issued by the federal government on social distancing and maximum number of persons that should be at a place at a time.”
“It was because of this concerns and the fact that base on the protocol, we are not supposed to work with the full compliment of our staff. The government guidelines says only officers on level 14 and above should be coming to the office and they work from 8am to 2pm.”
He said: “For organisation like ours that registers companies, maintains record of companies and also issue information to members of the public, it has been quite challenging because in the past we have service timeline where most of these services are delivered within 24 hours.
“With this restriction on the number of personnel and the working hours, it is impossible to meet those timelines. So we are forced to suspend those service timelines and we made that known to the customers. It is normal that the expectation is high.
“Some of us pretend as if we are not in a pandemic, we are expected to deliver as if the situation is normal. We try to impress on the customers to understand that this are unusual times and in as much as we want efficient services it is not possible under the present circumstance.
“What we do now is we have to suspend physical contact for some transaction like searches. We made it a policy that all search report will now be issued by the commission, our officers will conduct the searches.”