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New CAMA may be big business opportunity for Anambra MSMEs

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WHILE many commend Nigeria’s new Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020 as timely and loaded for Nigerian economy, no state is positioned to benefit more than Anambra. This stems from the fact that Anambra is home to more start-up ventures and micro, small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) than other states in Nigeria, less Lagos and Kano. Yet, indigenes of the state, who are driven by sheer entrepreneurship and doggedness own more than 50 per cent of over 25 million businesses in the other two states.

  No authenticating source is needed to verify this claim. Just a call at Nnewi, Onitsha and Awka, where businesses not only rise from scratches on daily basis but also become big players and giants in their industries will say it all. There are Innoson Motors and others in Nnewi. Luxury bus companies vie for space in Onitsha with commuter buses bringing up the ante in mass transit schemes. Many more are springing up in electronics and textiles distribution. Investments in pharmaceuticals have received new interest at Onitsha Bridge Head Market. Nigeria’s leading drug brand, Emzor Pharmaceuticals, which operates from Lagos is owned by an Anambra business woman. The Auto Spare Parts Markets in Obosi and Nkpor axis remain hubs of budding entrepreneurs.

  Awka and environs house clusters of ICT and agro business firms, ranging from micro cooperatives farmers to giants.

  This authenticates latest report from Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS) that scored Anambra as the state with least unemployment in the country. This development is not only commendable, but also bears bounty fruits to efforts of successive administrations, particularly the incumbent, in job creation and empowerment, especially in trade and commerce where Anambra cruises ahead of other states by coming up with the concept of start-ups.

  The Gov. Willie Obiano-led administration is not only doing necessary spade works to provide back-ups, through enabling environment, to hatch these start-ups but also invented Vision 2070 as master plan for economic development  in the next 50 years in which over 3million people in Anambra will become entrepreneurs every 10 years. This is where the governor’s wealth creation drive through security of life and property as critical factor for investment scores the bull’s eye. This is where Anambra Small Business Agency (ASBA) and Anambra State Investment Promotion and Protection Agency (ANSIPPA), which has attracted up to $5 billion private investment commitments to the state within two years are game changers.

  Gov. Obiano has also revved up ease of doing business policy in Anambra State. He has removed multiple taxation and digitalized tax administration to make it responsive and competitive under Anambra Inland Revenue Service (AIRS). All these are incentives not only to emerging businesses and local entrepreneurs but also encourage foreign direct investment (FDI).

  Indeed, volumes of importation of Chinese goods by Anambra based start-ups has led to calls for Chinese Embassy to set up a consular office in Awka, to sustain the intensity of business relationships between ndi Anambra and the cities of Guangzhou and Shanghai in China, apart from establishing an Anambra-Guangzhou-Shanghai Chamber of Commerce.

  This is where CAMA 2020 will play a big role in leveraging these MSMEs and start-ups to transform Anambra State into preferred destination of capital by significantly improving ease of doing business.

  It is so vital that it bears no monotony. Apart from last year when Nigeria moved 15 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index, the country was hitherto at rock bottom. CAMA 2020 has come to provide fillip by quick registration of business names and companies, reduction of filing fees, removing bureaucratic bottlenecks and red tapes, as well as other reforms that will make it easier and cheaper for small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) to register and reform their operations. Anambra as home of trading and merchandise will reap more gains than any other state and so continue to consolidate massive employment of youths.

  Making registration easier for them, for instance, will bring more Anambra MSMEs into the formal sector, and in turn, enhance tax revenue for the state government. New CAMA also exempted SMEs from appointing auditors to audit their accounts with Section 18 (2) allowing corporate promoters of companies to establish private companies with single-member shareholding. MSMEs can now create limited liability partnerships, and by so doing, Anambra based businesses are given alternative forms of operating in an efficient and flexible way. It also gives ample room for innovating processes to ease the operations of companies, such as introducing statement of compliance, replacing “authorised share capital” with minimum share capital to reduce costs of incorporating companies, and providing for electronic filing, e-share transfers, e-meeting, as well as remote Annual General Meetings (AGMs) for private companies in response to the new normal induced by the novel COVID-19 pandemic.

  Indeed, if any state in Nigeria is in a better pedestal to derive maximum gains from Companies and Allied Matters Act, 2020, it has to be Anambra, predicated by comparative advantage in trade and merchandise as the state verges on three decades of creation.

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