By Omololu Ogunmade
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja signed the Companies and Allied Matters Bill, 2020 passed by the National Assembly into law 30 years after its initiation.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, said with the presidential assent, the new Act repealed and replaced the extant Companies and Allied Matters Act of 1990.
Adesina said the Act introduced several corporate legal innovations conceived to enhance ease of doing business in the country.
He listed such innovations to include:
a. Filing fee reductions and other reforms to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises to register and reform their businesses in Nigeria;
b. Allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with a single member or shareholder, and creating limited liability partnerships and limited partnerships to give investors and business people alternative forms of carrying out their business in an efficient and flexible way;
c. Innovating processes and procedures to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing Statements of Compliance; replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies; and providing for electronic filing, electronic share transfers, e-meetings as well as remote general meetings for private companies in response to the disruptions to close contact physical meetings due to the COVID-19 pandemic;
d. Requiring the disclosure of persons with significant control of companies in a register of beneficial owners to enhance corporate accountability and transparency; and
e. Enhancing the minority shareholder protection and engagement; introducing enhanced business rescue reforms for insolvent companies; and permitting the merger of Incorporated Trustees for associations that share similar aims and objectives.