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How to register a company and a business name in Nigeria

An hand icon with a pencil registering for a business name in Nigeria
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Not registering your company or business name in Nigeria will not only limit the scope and functions of your company or business activity in the country. Still, it will also stand as a major setback for your business or company expansion. Registering a company in Nigeria and even business is not as big of a deal as you may be imagining. Business registration or company registration is a non-negotiable term if you want to remain relevant in the market sphere in this 21st century. Also, we will be discussing everything you need to know how to register a business and a company as well. You will be told the requirements and procedures involving in registering your business or company in Nigeria.

Are you interested in setting and scaling up your business?

Then read on.

Registering a company in Nigeria

In Nigeria, company registration is a central process which is only done only by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).

It is a straight forward activity that can done either through the CAC portal or manually.

Also, we need to note that Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) does not register companies.

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It only collects payment of incorporation fees only when after CAC has viewed and approved your documents.

So, beware of scammers.

The CAC law permits only four types of companies to be registered in the country, and which are:

  • Private Limited Company (LTD)
  • Public Limited Company (PLC)
  • Company Limited by Guarantee
  • Unlimited Company

Having identified the nature of your company, and its suitability to be register with the CAC.

Therefore, the next step is to gather all the needed requirements and keep them ready.

The requirements required for registering a company in Nigeria include:

Members:

  • Should be between two (2) to fifty (50), depending on the nature of the company.
  • Must all be of sound minds
  • None should be less than eighteen years (18) of age
  • None of the members should be experiencing bankruptcy during the incorporation process time.

Minimum share capital:

  • The minimum share capital for registering a company in Nigeria is N 10,000

Documents:

  • A statement of the registered company’s name and address
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Receipts of payment of stamp duties
  • List and consent of the first directors of your company, at least three.
  • Statement of compliance by legal personnel, preferably, a corporate lawyer

Having taken note of the requirements, the next query may probably be how to register a company.

An answer to this query, we will now be looking at how to register a company formally in CAC Nigeria.

So the steps involved in company registration includes:

1. Speak to a corporate lawyer

This is the first step to be taken while registering a company.

Even though registering a company in Nigeria has been easy by the CAC in that it can be done online through the CAC portal at one’s comfort.

It is highly necessary to speak to a corporate lawyer for the validation of your documents before embarking on the company registration process.

Also importantly, documents that appear invalid or without the necessary legal attestation shall consider void by the CAC.

2. Get a Company Name

After the attestation of your documents by a legal practitioner or corporate lawyer, the next step is to get a company name.

You are to submit two names, which are; the proposed name and an alternative name, to save stress.

You can log on to the CAC website to check whether your proposed company name is already in use by another company.

This could help you to change the name before submitting it to CAC so that it won’t be reject as a result of it already existing as the name of another company.

3. Preparation of Memorandum and Article of Association

In registering a company, this stage is consider as the pivotal stage.

So, both documents are indispensable in the process of registering a company in Nigeria.

They are best prepare by a corporate lawyer who would now act as an official lawyer to the company.

Also, certain provisions must contain in both documents.

Memorandum of Associations covers all the information regarding the dealing of the company with their external community. Which are:

  • The objective or purpose of the company.
  • The name clause of the company.
  • The capital clause of the company.
  • The Liability clause which could either be LTD or PLC.
  • The address of the registered office and its various offices.
  • Association clause. For a limited liability company, the minimum amount of shareholders should be two (2), while the maximum should be fifty (50). For an unlimited company, the minimum amount of shareholders should be seven (7). It has no definite maximum amount of shareholders.

Therefore, the article of Association provides information on how the internal running of the business carried out. Which are:

  • Nature of the company.
  • The amalgamation of the company clause.
  • Business expansion clause.
  • Rights and duties of shareholders
  • Shareholders’ right to appoint directors.
  • Procedure in dissolving the company.
  • Procedures and formula for allotment of shares
  • The sharing formula of dividends or loses among the shareholders

4. Filling the pre-registration Form

After preparing both documents, the next step of registering a company in Nigeria is to fill an online form from the CAC.

And submit it together with the duly signed memorandum of Association and Article of Association.

Even more, one person cannot do this stage.

Also, it involves the directors too, filling their own necessary and required sections.

And must done correctly.

It involves five sections of documentations which are:

  • One director must fill the share capital statement and return of allotment form (FORM CAC 7)
  • All the directors must fill the details of the directors’ form.
  • An individual or organization accredited by CAC must fill a Declaration of Compliance, in agreement to the instructions of the company and Allied Matters Act. (FORM CAC 4)
  • One director and the company Secretary should fill the situation of the registered form (FORM CAC 3)

5. Payment of the Stamp Duty and Filling Fee

This stage represents the authentication point in the company registration process.

It means the CAC accepts your application.

Hence, the payment of the stamp duty is done to a designate account of the Federal Inland Revue Service (FIRS).

After the payment, the applicant proceeds to the Stamp Duty Commission where all the documents are stamp and submitted to the CAC for final revision.

Also, the amount of stamp duty and filing fees are dependent on the number of the share capital of the proposed company to be registered.

So, the higher the share capital of the propose company.

The higher the stamp duty and filing fee to paid to the government through FIRS.

6. Issuance of number of incorporation

In answering the question of how to register a company.

This is regarding the last stage when all the incorporation letters are duly signed and accepted by the CAC after final revision.

CAC will incorporate the company and immediately issue a number of incorporation to the company, officially permitting the company to commence operations.

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Normally, the certificate of incorporation and the true certified copies will be issued to the company’s lawyer by the CAC in less than 48 hours after the CAC had incorporated the company.

Also, without discussing the cost of setting up a company in Nigeria.

The question, ‘how to register a company’ won’t be fully answered.

As stated earlier, the cost to be paid is determined by the amount of share capital of the company.

The fees include:

  • Reservation of name – N 5,000
  • Registration of the private company with a share capital of one million or less – N10,000 to N15,000
  • A true certified copy of company registration – N 10,000
  • Filing of annual returns of a private company with a share capital of one million or less – N3,000
  • A true certified copy of other necessary documents – N 2,000 per copy.

Now that you know how to register a company let us delve into how to register a business name.

Is registering a company in Nigeria more stressful and painstaking than business registration?

Do both operate on the same registration procedures?

The information I will now be leading you into will do justice to all these questions.

How to register a business name in Nigeria

Business name registration is far more comfortable than company registration because businesses are smaller in size than companies and are less complicated to start up, often involving fewer hands and less capital.

Furthermore the business could be a sole proprietorship (one-man business) or a partnership.

You can argue that business registration isn’t important because the majority of the shops, even not 90% of them in the local market and along with the major roads are not registered with the CAC.

So, if you are thinking like that, it means you don’t have plans to expand your business beyond your horizons.

Hence, after getting a nice business idea, the next question on your mind should be, ‘how to register a business in Nigeria?

This signifies you are ready to climb the top of the ladder in your market circle.

Business registration, like company registration, is solely carried out by CAC.

In addressing the question of ‘how to register a business name’, there are some needed documents that must be in place. This now takes us to the:

1. Requirements for registering a business name in Nigeria

The requirements are usually minimal, and they include:

  • Name of the proprietor or partners
  • A means of identification of the sole proprietor which could either be a national identity card, permanent voter’s card, driver’s license, or a passport. Or
  • A partnership deed for a partnership business. This partnership deed contains information on:
  • The name and details of the partners
  • The nature of the business
  • The business location
  • Amount of capital contributed by each partner.
  • Date of commencement of the business
  • Sharing formula of gains or losses among the partners
  • Salary to be payable to each partner
  • Roles and duties of each partner in the business
  • Determination of goodwill
  • Interest on capital contributed by each partner.
  • The extent of borrowing by each partner
  • Duration of the partnership
  • Procedure for settlement of the account
  • Actions to be taken when one partner dies, or go insane or bankrupted
  • Ways of dissolving the business

Having listed out the requirements for business registration.

The procedure for how to register a business name includes:

Get a Business Name

This should be the first step to be taken in addressing the question, how to register a business name?

The applicant must check for the availability or usage of the proposed business name through the CAC portal.

The applicant must make sure the proposed business name is not in use by another business.

The name must be unique and related to the nature of the business.

2. Filling of the statutory form

The next step in the business registration after getting a name is to commence the filling of the necessary columns correctly in the FORM BN1 and submit it appropriately.

After the submission, the applicant must proceed to print out the FORM BN from the CAC portal.

The applicant must sign appropriately on them, and write the date of registration in the required column.

3. Payment of Filing Fee

Normally, the CAC official filing fee for business registration in Nigeria is N 10,000.

But when an accredited agent is involve, the price may be higher than the stipulated amount as he will add his or her agent fee.

The payment of the filing fee is done through the portal.

4. Uploading of Documents

The next step in the business registration is for the applicant to submit or upload the duly signed statutory form into the CAC portal together with two passports and other necessary documents.

The other documents include:

  • Approval note
  • Statutory form (FORM BN1)
  • Means of identification
  • Payment receipt
  • Proficiency certificate (applied to the nature of the business).
  • Partnership deed (if it is a partnership business)

5. Issuance of original certificate for commencement

CAC after revising the uploaded documents will proceed to issue the applicant, documents for the business registration.

The documents include:

  • Original certificate of business registration name
  • CTC of the application form for the business registration name

Normally, business name registration can be done within 48 hours.

This helps to show you how fast and efficient the CAC service is.

One may ask, “you didn’t mention about getting a corporate lawyer in the business registration process.”

Does that mean getting a lawyer isn’t a must while registering a business?

If the business is strictly a sole proprietorship, then getting a lawyer should be optional.

But it all depends on the nature of the business.

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But, if it is a partnership business, then getting a corporate lawyer is a must.

Validation of the partnership deed can only done through a corporate lawyer.

That means no lawyer, no validation of partnership deed.

Foreigners are also permitted to register their business name within the country.

But first, they must meet with a corporate lawyer, who will get them acquainted to our local laws.

And provide the foreign applicant with the needed knowledge on the required documents needed for the business registration.

Also help to guide the foreign applicant through the business registration process.

In a nutshell, as an intend business guru, the question, ‘how to register a business’ should be your first practical thought.

CAC login from home

Both are registering a company in Nigeria, and business name can be done at the comfort of one’s home.

Through the official website of the CAC, which is cac.gov.ng.

To carry out any procedures relating to either company or business registration.

You will have to enter into the services option, or directly click, services.cac.gov.ng.

There you will see a section in which you can check for the availability of a company or business name.

And also sections for other company or business registration functions.

Reservation of name, either for a company or business can be done in the portal.

Like payment of stamp duties, uploading of documents, and printing out approval letters.

You can also create an account with the CAC, which can be used for renewing a business or company’s account.

Which is necessary for the smooth functioning of your business or company within the nation.

The portal can be accessed either through a phone, laptop or note pad.

How to check if a company is registered in Nigeria

In this age of high crime rate and constant fraudulent cases.

As one must know the legal status of a company or business before investing your hard-earned money.

These days, you get people to chat you up on WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram telling you about their business.

And the benefits to be derive if you register with them.

All you need to do is to check up whether they are registered with the CAC.

If they are not, I will strongly advise you not to be involve because they may be fraudsters.

The importance of the company or business registration with CAC is to give the outlet a credible and legal entity.

In which it could be sued when found guilty of any kind of fraudulent acts or misappropriations.

The procedures in checking if a company is register in Nigeria include:

  • Visit the CAC website.
  • Click on the public search engine.
  • You will have to search record by the name of the outlet. Type the name of the company in the provided space without its liability clause “LTD” or “PLC”.
  • Click on the search engine, and verify you are not a robot in the “I am not a robot CAPTCHA box”.
  • A result will appear showing the details of the company. CAC registration number, date of registration, name and registered address of the company.

Therefore, this is quite very easy and fast to do.

This can be done anywhere as long as you have a smartphone and data.

List of registered companies in Nigeria

Finance and Banks:

  • Access bank Nigeria PLC
  • Abbey Building Society PLC
  • Africa Prudential Registrars PLC
  • C & I Leasing PLC
  • Fidelity Bank PLC
  • First Bank PLC
  • United Bank for Africa PLC (UBA)

Beverages & Breweries:

  • Chi Limited
  • Cadbury Nigeria PLC
  • FTN Cocoa Processor PLC
  • International Breweries PLC
  • JOS international Breweries PLC
  • Nigerian Bottling Company Limited
  • Premier Breweries PLC
  • 7 up Bottling Co PLC

Oil & Gas Refining and Marketing:

  • African Petroleum PLC
  • Beco Petroleum Product PLC
  • Eterna Oil & Gas PLC
  • Japaul Oil and Maritime Services PLC
  • Nigerian Agip Oil Company Limited
  • Honeywell Oil and Gas Limited
  • Hardy Oil and Gas Limited
  • Nigerian National Petroleum Services (NNPC) Plc

Insurance:

  • International Emery Insurance PLC
  • Law Union & Rock Insurance PLC
  • Mutual Benefits Assurance PLC
  • Regency Alliance Insurance PLC
  • Royal Exchange Assurance PLC
  • Sovereign Trust Insurance PLC
  • Standard Alliance Insurance PLC

Food, Flour, Sugar and Grains:

  • Dangote Flour Mills PLC
  • Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc
  • Flour Mills of Nigeria PLC
  • Honeywell Flour Mill PLC
  • BUA Group of Companies PLC
  • Multi – Trex Integrated Foods PLC
  • National Salt Co Nigeria PLC
  • Northern Nigeria Flour Mills PLC
  • Smart Products Nigeria PLC

Automobiles:

  • Innoson Vehicle Manufacturing Co. Ltd
  • Monaplex Industries Nigeria Limited
  • Perfection Motors Co. Ltd
  • Peugeot Automobile Nigeria Limited
  • Mayor Automobile Industries Limited.

Others:

  • Afriland Properties Ltd
  • Afro Media Nigeria Limited
  • African Paints Nigeria PLC
  • DAAR Communication PLC
  • Dangote Cement PLC

How to register a company and a business name in Nigeria summary:

Above are the few of the many registered companies within the country.

All cannot be listed out here as they are too numerous to mention.

The basis of all this is, before buying a share in any company or doing business with any company within Nigeria.

You must check for their authenticity through the CAC portal.

I hope this answers your questions.

You can see that registering a company in Nigeria is not a Herculean task.

So go ahead, register your company and your business and help build the economy.

Published by Gbemisola

Gbemisola is an enthusiastic freelance writer. She has written hundreds of articles ranging from business and technical articles to affiliate articles. She’s also a digital marketer with experience in social media marketing, advertising and search engine optimization. Her aim is to see your business come to limelight through content creation and advertisement.