Friday, April 8, 2011


The chart at the bottom shows Nigeria's ranking (WORLD BANK GROUP) in ease of doing business. Nigeria is 137 out of 183. It means that we rank among the most difficult countries to do business in.

I am concerned about starting a business which, as far as legal and administrative processes go, begins at the Corporate Affairs commission (CAC). The CAC is a torturous hell-hole and a reminder of why we are called a third world country. To get a name approved for a company or business name takes these days anywhere from three days to two weeks. The premises of the CAC and the air would make you forget that all the hundreds of well dressed men and women running from pillar to post are actually trained professional- advocates and solicitors. Inefficiency, 'system failures', disorganization all account for the length of time it takes to start a basic business entity in Nigeria.

The above is no breaking news. In fact each time I complain, I am told by mycolleagues (quite unfortunately) to just get used to it and move on. However, there has been recently the movement of the stamp duties section, without which a company cannot be registered, to a different part of town in Abuja. This means that as a lawyer incorporating a company in Abuja, you will have to go from one part of town to another over a period of between two weeks and one month to get a simple company registered.

My opinion is simply that you should not need a lawyer to get a basic business unit registered. Most processes at the CAC are still done manually and the many computers in the building are as worthless to the computerisation of the process as external hard drives to a man seeking internet connection. People should be able to buy a scratch card, search online for the availability of their proposed name, and register it online with the same scratch card, without having to leave their homes. This is doable, afterall, people register for O'level examinations in Nigeria online- a far more complex process than the registration of a basic business entity.

Lawyers have no business standing in queues and struggling for sheets of paper like touts at the CAC. I am sad each time I go there and observe just how cheap and unprofessional it makes us look.

Nigeria is not a serious country, yet. Perhaps someday.


Ps. The table below shows where we are today from a survey of 183 countries around the world. Things are getting worse every year.

REGIONSub-Saharan Africa
INCOME CATEGORYLower middle income
GNI PER CAPITA (US$)1,140.00
137134down -3
TOPIC RANKINGSDB 2011 RankDB 2010 RankChange in Rank
Starting a Business110109up -1
Dealing with Construction Permits167165up -2
Registering Property179178up -1
Getting Credit8987up -2
Protecting Investors5957up -2
Paying Taxes134131up -3
Trading Across Borders146146No change
Enforcing Contracts9797No change
Closing a Business9995up -4


  1. You're so right!!!! Ive been thinking of starting a small business and I am dreading going to the CAC. I just started following your blog.

  2. For someone getting into their own business, there has to be a compelling reason. Either they can’t stand working for someone else, they’re confident their idea will be a hit, or they love the “chase” that is the American Dream.


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