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Senate Moves To Amend Companies And Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020

A BILL seeking to amend the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 has scaled second reading in the Senate.

The Senate said the bill seeks to strengthen the operations of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the country.

The bill, which is an amendment to the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020, is sponsored by Ibrahim Oloriegbe, the senator representing Kwara Central.

Oloriegbe said the bill will provide for a more coordinated legal framework for NGOs, and more specifically strengthen the civic space in Nigeria.

“NGOs are essentially the creation of individuals and citizens seeking to contribute to social development. We owe it as a responsibility to support these initiatives without overlooking the need to assist their operations within the law.

“It is essential to observe that the extant law requires NGOs to provide annual returns to CAC twice in a year when companies are only required to do so only once.

“The law also makes it possible for trustees of NGOs to be removed in unclear circumstances and for interim managers to be appointed without specifying the roles of the interim managers, the extent of their powers and the duration of their appointment.”

Senator Sadiq Umar, in his contribution, said the Act needs to be amended to regulate how NGOs operate in Nigeria.

“This bill is very significant because of so many misunderstandings that surround NGOs in Nigeria.

“With this amendment, NGOs doing excellent jobs will be covered and for those with ulterior motives, they can now be properly regulated and controlled.”

The bill has been referred to the Joint Committees on Trade and Investment, Diaspora and NGO with the Trade and Investment as lead committee to report back within four weeks.

Highlights of the bill

According to a report by Premium Times, the major objective of the bill is to provide a consistent regulatory framework that enhances NGO coordination.

The legislation proposes amendments to 11 Clauses of the CAMA Act.

They are: Section 2 which deals with the establishment of governing board, Section 81 which deals with related associations, Section 83 which deals with the application of income and Section 839 which deals with the suspension of trustees and the appointment of interim manager.

Other sections are: 842 which deals with accounts of dissolved incorporated trustees, 843 which deals with accounts that cease to be dormant before the transfer, 844 which deals with dormant bank accounts and 845 which deals with annual statements of affairs.

Also to be amended are Sections 846 which deals with accounting records and statement of account, 848 which deals with bi-annual returns and 849 which deals with merger of association – which is amended to give associations with similar objectives, the discretion to merge.

The key proposals are:

To amend Section 2(2) to provide for the representation of NGO in the membership or governing board of CAC.

Section 839 to curb the wide power of CAC to suspend trustees and appoint interim managers for NGOs.

Section 85 to reduce the burden on NGOs to submit bi-annual statement of affairs to CAC as opposed to annually which is the standard requirement for profit-making entities.

And delete Sections 842, 843 and 844 which border on the status of the bank account of the NGOs. This, the lawmaker said, infringes on the code of confidentiality between banking institutions and their customers.

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