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E--Business
Enquiry Platform, please help throw more light on the issue of business/company registration. I do not know what to do, how to go about getting my business registered to avoid harassment from the relevant agency of the Federal Government. Please, what are the processes?
In 2002, I was unable to register my company because of the unending processes I was expected to follow for registration. At the Ministry of Trade in Abuja that year, I was made to understand that my business could not be registered because the government was about to make the process easier. I was advised to hold on for an announcement from the government. Since then I heard nothing; not until recently when someone told me that the government had launched what he called company e-registration portal. I do not know how far this information is true. If it is true, how do I commence the registration processes?
Mr. Moshood Malomo,
121 Aromolate Street,
Ilesha, Osun State

Response

An official at the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Abuja, commenting, said the Federal Government had launched company online registration platform of the Corporate Affairs Commission since January, last year. The platform is referred to as CRP/GSP. The official explained that the scheme is aimed at reducing the time being spent on company registration; it is also to cut cost.

He went on: “The project in question has been expanded to include the provision of a universal payment gateway to enable users of the portal, including investors residing outside the country, approach multiple channels and platforms to make payment for the commission’s services from the comfort of their homes.”

“At the time the Federal Government launched company e-registration portal, the then Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Olusegun Aganga, explained that the project became imperative owing to the inability of the former vendor to deliver on the upgraded software of the commission. That affected service delivery to customers.’’

The Ministry of Communication and Technology and some stakeholders had to be brought in “to develop the application for fast and effective delivery of services to customers and at the same time achieve transparency in the process.”

The official recalled what Dr. Aganga said in the end, “it is gratifying to note that the new software is robust enough to accommodate all e-payment platform such as inter-switch, e-transact, master card, verve, card American Express and other forms of electronic payment.’’

The official told The Guardian that the software would enable customers “to file their documents on-line without having to physically visit the commission. With a new application customers can access and pay for the commission’s service on-line. People other than accredited agents and professionals can similarly carry out their own transactions directly with the commission. This will significantly reduce the cost of doing business in Nigeria.”

Pursuant to this objective, the Registrar-General and Chief Executive of the Commission approved a 50 per cent reduction on the filling fees payable for new registration and 25 per cent reduction for increase in share capital for companies with threshold of N2million naira to N500million and above.

The enquirer is therefore advised to take advantage of the CAC on-line registration platform, which he would find easy, simple and cheap and above all, convenience.

The rate at which pensioners are dying without getting their pensions paid these days is giving me sleepless nights, and for this reason, I will like to know what to expect when I retire from service before this year runs out.

I DISCOVERED that many pensioners retired two to three years ago, are still finding it hard to get their pensions paid by their various PFAs.

The question, therefore, is what is the minimum period required by an employee to qualify for pension under the new scheme? And when will I have access to money in my RSA? Finally, will gratuity be paid under the new scheme?

I will be grateful if the Enquiry PLATFORM can help find out these facts from the National Pension Commission Headquarters in Abuja, to save me from this phobia of non-payment of pension by the PFAs.
Mr. Silvanus Macositu,
95 Lakoshe Street,
Lokoja, Kogi State

Response

THE enquiry of Mr. Silvanus Macositu was raised at the National Pension Commission, Maitama District, Abuja. An official of the commission said there was no qualifying period for pension. The explanation by the commission was that if an employee works for one month, his pension contribution will be paid by his employer into the employee’s Retirement Savings Account (RSA) for that month. “If the employee moves to work for another employer for say another one year, his pension contribution will be paid by the second employer for that period of one year and it goes on and on like that.”

In reply to the second question on when a person can have access to money in the RSA, the official had this to say, “access to RSA will only be allowed upon retirement. If an employee retires at the age of 50 or more, he or she can have immediate access to the RSA. Similarly, if an employee retires before the age of 50 owing to mental or physical incapacity, he or she can have immediate access to his or her RSA. Whereas an employee who retires before he is 50, in accordance with the terms and conditions of employment, will not be able to access the RSA until after six months of such retirement even if he does not secure another employment.

Will gratuity be paid under the scheme? “Upon retirement, an employee can draw a lump sum (by whatever name called) from the balance standing to the credit of his RSA provided the balance after the withdrawal can provide an annuity or fund monthly payments that would not be less than 50 per cent of his monthly pay as at the date of his retirement. However, an employer may choose to pay any other severance benefits payable to the employee subject to the terms and condition of his employment.

The official said that withdrawals from the RSA can only be made upon retirement, and where an employee makes additional or voluntary lump sum contributions into the RSA, he can withdraw such money before retirement or attainment of the age of 50 years.

Please help find out from the appropriate quarters if the National Directorate Employment is still in existence.

SOMETIME in June 2014, I heard that the National Directorate of Employment would offer jobs to more about 700 graduates under what was called attachment programme. I was one of the graduates under the said attachment scheme, as of that time. Since then, I have not had anything about programme.

For this reason, I will be grateful to know if the Directorate still exists and functions, and what the situation is concerning the laudable programme. Has the promise to help graduates under attachment jobs been fulfilled?
Komolafe Seriki,
P.O. Box 6683,
Ilorin, Kwara State

Response

AN officer in the Public Relations Department said, “I am surprised at the nature of this enquiry; this means this enquirer is not current.

The National Directorate of Employment has never ceased existing, I wonder why this enquirer should ask such an embarrassing question.”

However, on the issue of over 700 graduates under attachment programme last year which is the subject of the enquiry, the officer said the Directorate offered them jobs as promised and “this was not a rumor. The NDE actually offered over 700 graduates opportunity for permanent jobs last year under its Graduate Attachment Programme (GAP). This was made known to all and sundry during the flag-off of the programme here in Abuja by the Director General of the Directorate, Abubakar Mohammed.’’ He had said on the occasion that the programme provided a window of opportunity for fresh graduates to enter the employment arena.’’

The officer recalled that the Directorate (NDE) conceived the Graduate Attachment Programme in October 2006 and invited employers of labour to provide opportunities of attachment for fresh graduates in their companies as a way of fighting unemployment. He said the programme had a life of its own.

“It means a lot to the graduates. To them, it symbolizes a feature that characterises the world of unemployed graduates, the interval between the world of school and the world of work, empty interval between the world of unemployment and employment, and that void that separates frustration and fulfillment.’’

He said Mallam Mohammed hoped that the beneficiaries would seize the opportunity to make themselves indispensable to their employers through their contributions to the value chain bearing in mind that the employers would watch them closely during the period to evaluate their work.

The Public relations officer spoke at length about the objective of the programme. It was for the beneficiaries to have places to go daily and have something worthwhile doing and in the process derive psychological satisfaction and develop a sense of self-worth usually threatened by prolonged idleness.

It was also intended to bridge the gap between classroom knowledge and the world of work and assist the beneficiaries to acquire some working experience and possibly pick up skills to make them employable

MSME

Since I left the university two years ago, I have been hearing about Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria, but I am yet to feel their impact on unemployed youths particularly graduates like me. I have been in the labour market for two years. Many of us would like to start their own businesses.

I AM writing to find out why the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency has been unable to help those of us who are interested in setting up own businesses, but do not have funds. I have no one to finance me. Because of this I have been waiting on SMEDAN to rescue me, but for how long am I going to wait?

I will be happy if more light is shed on this issue to know what SMEDAN is doing for the unemployed as well as when to expect fund from the agency to start businesses of our choice.
Abdulrahman Sadiq,
P.O.Box 2538,
Apo, FCT Abuja.

Response
OUR investigation reveals that the Director-General, Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (SMEDAN) Bature Masari, had since November last year, attributed the problem of funding micro small and medium enterprises to the absence of a bank for it like it obtains in some other countries. The solution for the problem of start-ups therefore lies in that.

An official of the agency told the Enquiry PLATFORM: “Bature said banks for MSMEs exist in most countries that have a well developed MSMEs sector.”

According to him, “we are proposing to the government the need for the establishment of an MSME Bank that will specially cater for the needs of MSMEs and move them from competing with large enterprises in accessing funds for start ups.

Everywhere you go and every country that has been able to develop, they set aside a special funding for MSMEs. In Nigeria, even though we are starting late, MSMEs development must toe that line if we must develop that sector of the economy, according to Bature.”

The official said as of now, there are obstacles to realizing the proposal such as vehement opposition from certain segments of the country. Yet, MSMEs bank is not only going to support and develop MSMEs. It will also provide employment to millions of people, reduce the level of poverty and help tackle allied problems such as insecurity.

“In a nutshell, SMEDAN is pushing for MSME bank creation to cater for the need of the jobless.”


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