2015 Update: It now costs N10,500 for name search and business registration. You can now also register your business online.
If you don’t know, the business name: JidBiz International belongs to me and it was registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) Nigeria in 2011. I used the business name to open a current account with First Bank Nigeria and am currently using it for my online business. If you are a small business owner, please go and register your business name with CAC. The earlier, the better.
The CAC (http://www.cac.gov.ng, http://cacnigeria.org) regulates the formation and management of companies in Nigeria. It is empowered by the Nigerian law to handle all issues associated with company registration, business names, and incorporated trustees in Nigeria. If you want to register your business name in Nigeria without involving a third party ( eg laywer, agent etc), you will have to go directly to any of the CAC branches all across the country. CAC offices are mostly found in most of the state capitals in Nigeria.
Why Register a Business Name?
Registering your business name is highly encouraged. It gives you the legality to use the name to do business. It will make so many people to have confidence in doing business with you. In fact, without a registered business name, you will not be able to do business with government parastatals and go into partnership with some big companies. If you run a business without registering it and you get involved in a legal battle, you will
The first time I tried registering my business name, I went to the CAC office in Lagos. I met an agent who discouraged me from doing it by myself, claiming it will take several months for me to even know if my business name is available or not. She sweet-mouth me so she can do it for me for a fee. I agreed and I paid her some of the money she demanded so she can get started asap.
Unfortunately, I couldn’t follow up on the process because I moved down to Benue few days after paying her, to resume to my dream job. On getting to Benue, I visited the CAC office in Makurdi and I was able to register my business name by myself with less than N5, 000.
Business Registeration in Nigeria: The Steps
==> Walk in to any CAC office. Most are located in the state capitals. You can get the contact info of the CAC state offices at http://cacnigeria.org/jm/
==> Make sure you have at least three different unique names at hand before going to the CAC office
- The names must not contain words like “National”, “Government”, “State”, “Co-operative” etc
- The names must not be similar to any business or trade mark already registered in Nigeria
- The use of the word “Consulting” and registration of some professional services will require that you provide evidence of the relevant professional qualifications and/or registrations. Please try avoiding such if you do not have such professional qualifications.
==> Tell the CAC staff you want to register your business name. You will be told to pay for the ‘Availability Check and Reservation of Name Form’ and file. Both costs approximately N500. You can also download the form from http://cacnigeria.org/jm/.
Below is a screenshot of the form. Note that this might change with time.
==> Fill the form and submit. The CAC staff will guide you in filling it. You will be told to check back, after a week or two to know the fate of the business names submitted. In my own case, the CAC staff called my phone number after a week, to come to the office to finalize my registration.
This is the most challenging stage of the whole process because you can’t proceed to the next stage if your business name has not been approved. If CAC disapproves both names submitted, you have to buy another ‘Availability Form’ and go though the process again.
==> If any of the submitted names is approved, you will be told to pay N4,000 for the proper registration of the business name. You can check out the CAC fee here: http://www.cac.gov.ng/Pages/fee.htm
==> You will be provided with a registration form to use in registering the approved business name
Below are the requirements for the business name registration form:
a) the approved business name,
b) the business address,
c) the name of the sole proprietor or partners,
d) the address of the owner/s,
e) two passport photographs of the owner/s.
f) general nature of the business. Mine falls under internet services and general merchandise/trading. The CAC staff might present a document to you containing the categories of business names. From the list, you will choose the categories that matches your kind of business
On completion of the form, you will need to submit the form with the receipt of payment of the N4, 000. You will be asked to come for your certificate in 2-4 weeks time. The commission will register the name after satisfying that the necessary documents and information are in place. Once you collect your certificate of registration of business name, you can boast anywhere of running a legal business.
I hope this helps.
In my future posts, I will share with you how to open a corporate bank account with your certificate of registration of business name. If you do not want to miss this, SUBSCRIBE here.
If you have contributions or questions to ask, kindly relay them via comments.
You can read about company registration in Nigeria here.