By Oluseyi Oyebisi
Members of the Federal House of Representatives will be leaving behind an important legacy, if they pass the CAMA Bill (for presidential assent) before the expiration of the 8th Assembly. The lawmakers have a lot of work to do and they must get on with it immediately, if they want the business community in Nigeria and the civil society to celebrate them as they did the Senate when it first passed the ‘’repeal and enactment of the Company and Allied Matters Act’’ in May 2018.
Regarding the clauses in the bill, there is a lot to make the average Nigerian happy. The Senate did make sweeping changes to the bill, one that has not happened in 28 years, thereby strengthening the regulatory and operational environment for businesses and nonprofits. The bill will improve on the country’s ease of doing business, as individuals will now be able to register their businesses easily and unnecessary regulatory bottlenecks for small businesses are removed, among others.
The bill, as passed by the Senate, will also provide an improved framework for the formation and operation of nonprofit organisations in the country, including improved governance, enhanced transparency and accountability, which, when finally signed into law, will result in a significant improvement on how nonprofits deliver services to their beneficiaries.
The passage of this bill has been described as a real victory for Nigerians on one hand. On the other hand, it is an important legacy for the 8th Assembly. One agrees with a message posted by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on his Twitter handle, which said, “The passage of the repeal and re-enactment of the Companies and Allied Matters Act is a significant milestone in our legislative agenda. This is by far the most far-reaching legislation ever passed by any legislature in our country.”
For whatever it is, the House of Representatives bears the burden of ensuring that this bill receives speedy attention and that it can go through all the processes of the National Assembly for a quick assent by President Muhammadu Buhari, who, I am confident, will not decline. The passage of this Bill will definitely make Nigeria work again at the next level.
Someday, all the members of the current National Assembly will no longer be in office. As leaders and politicians, they will be required to give a full account of their services to the nation and its people. The re-elected members of the 8th Assembly and those who lost in the 2019 general elections will both have something to be proud of when the bill finally becomes a law. Each of the lawmakers must now, for the sake of posterity, track their commitments, involvement and support to the passage of this very important bill. They must document their role as this will be needed when Nigerians ask them what they did to improve and add quality to the lives of the teeming masses of the less privileged in the country.
For over 28 years, millions of Nigerians have waited to see the birth of a regulatory framework that will enable businesses to grow and the civil society to flourish. Many people are tired of waiting. All they want right now is to wake up one morning to hear the cheery and heart-warming news that President Buhari has assented to the CAMA Bill.
Whatever it takes to fulfill this great expectation of the people, before and after the inauguration of the newly elected leaders of the country on May 29 and by June 9, when the course of the 8th Assembly would have ended, now rests squarely on the shoulders of each and every one of the 469 Honourable Members of the National Assembly.
Oluseyi Oyebisi, who is the Executive Director of the Nigeria Network of NGOs, wrote in from Lagos