How To Register A Business Name In Nigeria

Nigeria is one of the best countries in Africa for investment. This is because it is one of Africa’s fastest-growing economies. Besides, the country is rich in mineral resources, and therefore, the flow of money is much greater compared to other African countries. The Nigerian government has also formulated friendly investment policies to attract local and foreign investors.

Many people have given reasons for not registering their businesses or not doing so on time due to the endless queuing up in CAC offices or the rigorous processes involved. The commission listened to the complaints and has improved on its services over the years, making it easier for business owners to register their businesses with little or no hassles at all. With the new way of doing things,  you do not have to queen up at their offices or use the services of an attorney. However, it may be of future benefit should your business run into legal trouble. Here is everything you will need to know about how to register a business in Nigeria in the shortest time possible and without mistakes.

What Is CAC Business Name Registration?

To do business in Nigeria, it is important to follow the right processes, and one of these processes is to register your business name with the Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). CAC was established in 1990 by passing the Company and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) to regulate and supervise the formation, incorporation, and management of companies in Nigeria. Thus, registering your business with CAC grants you the legal right to float or operate a business in Nigeria.

Benefits Of Registering A Business Name In Nigeria

Although many people tend to neglect this process until they run into issues, it is expedient to state that The benefits of doing this can never be overemphasized.

  • It protects your business name and trademark.
  • Business name registration is the first step in getting your business structured
  • Registering your business with CAC makes the business legit, and customers and other people who will be dealing with the business will be confident that they are not dealing with a fraudulent entity.
  • With a registered business name, you can open a corporate business account
  • With a registered business name, you can access both government and private loans for your business.
  • With your certificate of registration, you apply for a visa and travel to any country of your choice for conferences and any business-related purposes.

Registering A Business  Name In Nigeria 

There are two ways to get your business name registered in Nigeria; the first step is the manual way, which is by visiting any CAC office nationwide or the electronic way, i.e., online registration. Whichever way you choose to register your business, whether online or manually, you must first.

Pick a Business Name

Choosing a name for your business is vital and can be quite difficult. This is because it has to be unique and catchy. You also have to ensure that the name you pick is related to the products/service your business will be dealing in. This means you have to take your time because this could be your brand and trademark. You may need to use the services of an investment expert.

Steps To Registering A Business Name Manually 

Registering a business name manually requires visiting any CAC office across the nation. To complete your business name registration, you will need to go through 3 stages.

Requirements

  • Knowledge of all the relevant information you will be asked, like approved business name, address of the business, nature of the business, details of business proprietors, and signature
  • SCUML certificates (If this is applicable to your business)
  • Money to pay for forms

First Stage

During your first visit, you will check the availability of your business name by filing a business name form (known as Form 008). You will need to fill in this form as accurately as possible before submitting it. In addition, you will have to pay a little fee for the form.

The form doubles as an application for the business name registration, underscoring the importance of getting it right. The CAC will take one to two weeks to get back to you, although it should not take that long. If the business name is unavailable, you may have to think of another business name and fill another form altogether. If your business name is available, plan for the second visit.

Second Stage

This second visit to CAC constitutes the actual business registration and only happens after the business name has been confirmed to be available. You will be presented with another form referred to as Registration of Business Name (Form 001). This form should also be filled as accurately and neatly as possible as any mistake can have terrible repercussions later in the life of the business after it is started.

If there is anything you do not understand, do not hesitate to ask workers at CAC for clarification. After completing the form, you will be required to pay N10,000 only at this time. Alternatively, you can employ the services of a lawyer who you will pay the same amount.

After paying the business registration fee, you will be presented with an affidavit/attestation form. After that, you are expected to proceed to any magistrate court in your vicinity or location for endorsement by the court magistrate. During this process, you will be required to pay N250 only as fees to the court’s involvements.

The registration form requires you to provide certain personal and business information such as two passport photographs, a stapler, the details of a partner (you cannot register alone, add someone else), the partner’s photographs, your address (you can use your home address), telephone number (use GSM) and local government area and a few other requirements. Inquire about the requirements from someone who has registered their businesses successfully before visiting CAC offices so as to avoid time wastage.

Final Stage

After completing the form, paying the required fees, and submitting the attestation/affidavit form, then you will have to wait a couple of weeks before checking back at the Corporate Affairs Commission for your business name certification. If everything was fine during the application process, you could expect not to wait too long or nullify your registration. While most people receive their business name certification in one to two weeks, it is not strange to wait for about a month with some CAC centers in Nigeria. After getting the certification, you can go ahead and start your business.

You would agree that this procedure is rather long and time-consuming; that is why the commission n has made things easier by introducing the online registration platform for a seamless and hassle-free registration.

Step By Step Guideline On How To Register A Business Name Online

Requirements

With the introduction of online business registration by CAC, registering a business name has become so easy that it can be done from the comfort of your home, office, or wherever you are with the internet-enabled device(s).

So for your business name registration, you will be needing

  • An internet-enabled laptop, desktop, or other devices
  • Knowledge of all the relevant information you will be asked, like approved business name, address of the business, nature of the business, details of business proprietors, and signature
  • SCUML certificates (If this is applicable to your business)
  • Money to pay for forms
  • Scanner

Step 1: Sign Up On The Website

To be able to register a business name or company online,  you must first create an account on the website by visiting  https://pre.cac.gov.ng/register/new

Fill out the necessary details on the page, including name, email, phone number, etc.

After filling out your details, click on the ‘Register’ button. Once you do this, a verification link is sent to the email address you had filled out on the previous page; check your email to verify, then log back to the dashboard to begin the registration properly.

Step 2: Carry Out A Name Availability Search

After selecting done for the name or names for your business, the next step will be to check if the name(s) you have chosen is available or used by someone else. This is important because no two persons can register the same business name.

  • To carry out this search, all you need to do is visit the commission’s official website at www.www.cac.gov.ng
  • On the dashboard, click on the Public Search option and enter the name you have selected. Once you have done this, click the search button to begin the search. If the business name hasn’t been used, nothing will appear, but if the name has been registered, the name will appear with details of the business location and when it was registered

4. Reserve The Name

Once you have established that the name you have chosen hasn’t been used or registered by anyone else, proceed to reserve the name. This you can achieve in three simple steps:

  • Visit the website by clicking here
  • Once you are on the dashboard, click on the ‘Reserve a Name’ button, and you will be directed to a separate page where you will be required to fill out a form.
  • Make a payment of N500, and an availability code will be issued to you.

Step 4: Registration

Step 4 is the Registration proper, and this can be for either a business or a company. Whichever one it is, take the following steps strictly:

Business Name Registration
  1. Visit the CAC portal and click on the Reserved Panel button, which will take you to your approval history page
  2. Once you are on your approval history page, click on the “Start Registration” button and fill out all the information on the business detail page, then click the save button to save and then on the continue button to proceed with the registration
  3. The next page will be the Proprietor page. Here you will be required to either enter the
    Particulars of an individual Proprietor or a Corporate Proprietor. Select the one that
    applies to you and fill out their details (Name, Gender, Nationality, Contact Address, etc.).
  4. After inputting the proprietor’s details, you can click on the Add Proprietor button to add more proprietors if you desire to and when done, click on the Save button and on the Continue button, to move on to the next page to fill out the nature of business details
  5. In this section, “Nature of Business,” click on the Add Nature of Business button
    and use the drop-down menu to select the appropriate options on both the Nature of Business and Specific Nature of Business boxes. When you are done with this section, click on the Save button to save and the Continue button to fill out the next stage.
  6. The next stage is the “Document Upload” section. In this section, you will be required to scan and upload all the necessary documents (valid ID  and signature of the Proprietor, Passport photograph, etc.) required to continue the process and complete the whole registration process.
  7. When you are done with the uploads, click on the “Save and then Continue” button to have a view of all your entries to be sure you have supplied the correct pieces of information only. After verifying that everything is fine, proceed to make payment by clicking on the Remita button. Fill out all the required information like the bank and card details and others on the Remita page to pay. Once you have made payments, you will immediately be redirected to your dashboard, where you can download and print out your payment receipts.
  8. Your details and payments will be verified, and once they are, an electronic copy of your
    certificate will be displayed on your registration panel on the CAC portal, where you can download and print it.
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 Company Name Registration

The company name registration process is almost the same as business name registration but for minor changes here and there.

  1. To get started, click on the Start Registration button, enter the details of the company you wish to register. Save the info entered and click on the “Continue” button to proceed to the next page.
  2. On this page which is the” Objects of Memorandum section, you will be required to add the Objects of the Company and then click on the “Save and Continue” button to navigate to the “Articles of Association” section where you will be either to adopt and/or edit the default Articles of Association provided by the commission, you are allowed to provide your if you chose not to use the one they have provided.
  3. When you are done with this section, click on the Save & Continue button to move to the “Directors page” click on the “Add Director” button to add at least the details of one of the
    directors of the business. If you wish to hide the Residential Address of each director on
    this page, you can do so by clicking the check box under the Residential Address portion. When you are done with this section, click on Save & Continue button to proceed.
  4. This will bring you to the “Secretary” section. You can skip this section as a small business that may not be able to afford the services of a secretary at the moment. To skip this section, simply click on the link at the top of the page or click on the “Add Individual Secretary” button to provide the details of the company secretary. Then click on the “Save & Continue” button to proceed.
  5. The next stage is the “Statement of Issued Share Capital;” here, fill in details of the company’s proprietors and their respective share capital allocation.  Note that It’s necessary to fully allocate all shares to the proprietors to avoid a query/delay in the process, then click on the Save & Continue button to proceed to the “Persons with Significant Control (PSC)” section.
  6. On the “Persons with Significant Control (PSC)” section, you will be required to fill in the details of those that have Significant Control over/of the Company. When you are done,  click on the “Save & Continue” button to move to the “Statement of Compliance section. If you are not a legal practitioner, fill in your details only or skip the section entirely.
  7. By now, you are on the “Document Upload” section, Scan, and Upload (to the portal), all required files on the fields that have “Yes” under the “Is required” column and also those with “Optional written in the column then click on the “Save & Continue” to have a view of all your entries, if you are satisfied with them, proceed to make your payment on the Remita page. After filling in and confirming your payment detail proceed to pay.
  8. After making the payment, you will be redirected to your dashboard, where you will be required to make payment for the mandatory Stamp Duty using Remita. Make the required payment, and again be redirected back to the dashboard where you will find your application under the Pending Approval section.
  9. When your application is approved, an electronic copy of your Company Registration
    Certificate will be displayed on your registration dashboard panel, from where you will be
    able to download and print it.

register-business-cac-nigeria-picture

Businesses That Require SCUML Registration

Before going ahead to discuss businesses that require SCUML registration before registering them on the CAC platform, the first question would be what is SCUML?

SCUML stands for Special Control Unit against Money Laundering (“SCUML”). SCUML was created under the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act of 2004 and later amended to Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 as part of the measures for the implementation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Recommendations on Anti- Money Laundering/Combating the Financing of Terrorism (AML/CFT) in Nigeria.

Under the SCUML Act, the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade, and Investment, in collaboration with the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and other relevant regulatory bodies, professional bodies, and self-regulatory organizations have been given the right to register and monitor all the activities of Designated Non-Financial Institutions in Nigeria. Thus, without a SCUML certificate, certain businesses or companies are not to be allowed to be registered with CAC and subsequently operate in Nigeria, as their operation is considered illegal.

These businesses that require SCUML Certification before business/company name registration are:

  • accountants and accounting firms
  • audit firms
  • business outfits dealing in jewelry
  • car dealers
  • casinos
  • chartered accountants
  • clearing and settlement companies
  • Construction Companies
  • Consultants and Consulting Companies
  • dealers in luxury goods
  • dealers in mechanized farming equipment and machinery
  • dealers in precious stones and metals
  • dealers in real estate, estate developers, estate agents, and brokers
  • estate surveyors and valuers
  • hospitality Industry
  • hotels
  • importers and dealers in cars or any other automobiles
  • law firms, notaries, and other independent legal practitioners
  • Lottery businesses including fixed odds, pari-mutuel, sports lottery (betting), scratch card gaming, and other forms of gaming
  • mortgage Brokers
  • non-profit organizations
  • Pool betting
  • practitioners of mechanized farming
  • supermarkets
  • tax consultants
  • trust and company service providers

So, if you are planning any of these businesses with CAC, you will need to get your SCUML certificate ready before starting, and to begin the process visit the SCUML website here.

How Much Does It Cost To Register A Business Name In Nigeria?

Business Name Registration Cost

Business Name registration alone costs N10,000. However, other expenses accompany it like the name search, name reservation fees, etc. Below is the breakdown of other costs for business name services  that you should know:

Services  Amount (N)
Reservation of Name 500
Search on business name file 1,000 per business file
Certified true copies of other documents 2,000.00 per document
A certified true copy of business name certificate of registration 5,000
Filing of notice of change of business name 5,000.00
Filing of notice of change in proprietorship 1,000.00
filing of the notice of change in business address 1,000.00
Filing of notice of cessation of business 1,000.00
Filing of other documents (miscellaneous) 1,000.00
Filing of annual return 1,000.00

Company Name Registration

Registering a Private company with a share capital of N1 million or lesser costs N10,000.00. A company with a share capital above N1million and up to N500 million is N5,000.00 for every N1 million share capital or part thereof 4 Registration of private company/Increase in share capital.

Below is the breakdown of the costs for company name registration and other services:

Services Amount (N)
Reservation of Name 500
Registration of a private company with a share capital of N1million or less 10,000
Registration of private company/Increase in Share Capital above N1million and up to N500million 5,000 for every N1million share capital or part thereof
Registration of private company/Increase in share capital above N500million 7,500 for every N1million share capital or part thereof
Registration of Public company/Increase in share capital 20,000 for the first N1million share capital or part thereof
Registration of Public Company/Increase in share capital above N1million and up to N500million 10,000 for every N1million share capital or part thereof
Registration of Public Company/increase in share capital above N500million 15,000 for every N1million share capital or part thereof
Registration of Company not having a share capital 20,000.00
Filing of notice of exemption of foreign Companies from Registration 30,000.00

 

For other company related services rendered by CAC, click here 

FAQs About Business Name Registration

1. What does CAC-CRP mean?

CAC-CRP is an acronym that stands for the Corporate Affairs Commission – Company Registration Portal

2. What do I need to submit a successful Name Availability Request?

To be able to submit a name availability request successfully; you would need the following:

The name(s) to search; a maximum of two names
Your CAC-CRP account access (username and password)
N500 only
Other information you will be required to provide includes the type of business, nature, etc.

3. How will I know if My Name Availability request Was Approved or Declined?

Once your name search request has been processed, you will receive an email notification at your officially registered email address. Then, on logging in to your CAC-CRP account, you would be able to see the status of your application and generate the availability approval/disapproval form.

4. What do I do if My Name Availability request is not approved?

You can seek advice from an accredited agent or make another name search application.

5. Who are accredited agents?

Accredited agents are the person(s) or institutions certified by the corporate affairs commission to process and submit pre-incorporation and post-incorporation filings on behalf of individuals and businesses.

6. What If I don’t have an e-payment credit/debit card; how can I pay online?

If you do not have a debit/credit card to use for the online payment, you can make use of your internet banking app/details to make the payment, and if you don’t have internet banking either, generate the bill from the CAC-CRP; walk into any bank branch in Nigeria and make the payment, it’s as easy as that.

7. What If I am outside Nigeria? Can I Still Make a payment online? 

Yes, you can. Online payment services are available for anybody to use from anywhere in the world at any point in time. Payment options are debit/credit cards and internet banking with any Nigerian bank.

 8. I did not receive any password after my account creation; what do I do?

Go to the ‘Sign in’ page and click the ‘Forgot Password’ link and follow the instructions provided there. An email containing a password reset link will be sent to your registered email address. Click on the link or paste it into your browser and follow the steps provided afterward.

Conclusion

From the above discussion, you can see how easy it is to start a business in Nigeria. It is also easy to appreciate the most important step, which is picking the business name. Any wrong move will mean that the registration will be delayed because you will have to redo it repeatedly until you get it right. Besides, you may pick the wrong business name that will hinder your business prospects from converting into a great brand. Also, remember that having the wrong business name can have later legal repercussions because it may cause problems registering other related businesses.

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