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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Nigeria: Senate takes steps to strengthen NGO operations

The Senate has advanced to the second reading of a bill that seeks to improve the activities of Nigeria’s non-governmental organizations (NGOs). 

Ibrahim Oloriegbe is the sponsor of the bill, which amends the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020. (APC, Kwara Central). 

The Act intends to provide measures that solve regulatory difficulties relating to the registration, administration, and merging of NGOs in Nigeria, in addition to boosting their effectiveness.  

One of the primary aspects that the bill proposes this change, to allow NGOs to submit annual returns to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) only once a year, rather than twice a year as required by present law. Several times a year 

The second reading was a continuation of the discussion of the bill’s contents and suggested modifications. 

One of the most important legislations approved by the 8th Assembly is the CAMA Act, which enhances Nigeria’s business climate and encourages the growth of micro, small, and medium businesses. 

It also serves as a guide for the formation and management of businesses, corporations, and associations.  

Mr. Oloriegbe, who led the debate, stated that the present CAMA Law offers a uniform regulatory framework that enhances NGO coordination, as well as a legal and legislative foundation for how for-profit and non-profit businesses should function in Nigeria. 

However, he pointed out that although the law helps businesses by making it easier to conduct business and decreasing compliance costs for small and medium-sized businesses, it also imposes harsher rules on organizations registered as incorporated trusts, such as NGOs and civil society. Community and religious groups are examples of organizations. 

According to him, the law has restrictions that limit NGOs’ capacity to function and achieve the goals for which they were established.  

“Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are primarily the creation of individuals and citizens who want to help with social progress. We have a responsibility to support these projects while keeping in mind the need to ensure that they operate legally”. 

“It’s important to highlight that present legislation mandates NGOs to submit annual disclosures to CAC twice a year, whereas corporations only have to do so once.” 

“The legislation also provides for the removal of NGO trustees under ambiguous circumstances and the appointment of temporary managers without clarifying the interim managers’ tasks, the scope of their powers, or the term of their employment.”  

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