CAC inaugurates features for financial statements submission

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The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) on Thursday inaugurated two features – the beneficial ownership register and electronic filing system – to enable companies submit financial statements digitally.

Alhaji Garba Abubakar, Registrar-General, CAC, announced the take-off of the features at a one-day sensitisation forum for customer/stakeholders, organised by CAC, in Lagos.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that stakeholders were trained on the beneficial ownership information disclosure and electronic filing system template for annual returns.

Electronic filing system is an online accounting system supported by EU Act for regulated entities and business owners in the country.

According to Abubakar, some registries across the world have moved from submission of financial statements in pdf to submission of financial statements in extensible reporting languages.

“What we are doing today is to show to our stakeholders two other new features of our applications – the beneficial ownership register of persons with significant control and the second is the electronic filing system for financial statement.

“I am glad to announce that we have achieved this in Nigeria with the launch, companies no longer have to submit pdf format of financial statement.

“They can just key in the figures, upload the director’s report as well as the statement of the auditors, and that will suffice.

“The information will be stored in the data base and anybody that requires it will be able to query the data base to have cross reports of different entities,” he said.

He added that if a person wanted information on different entities or on the turnover and net asset and liabilities of companies across different sectors, they would be available.

“The same thing will also be available to regulatory agencies, tax authorities and other licensing authorities,” he said.

Abubakar added that the beneficial ownership register was deployed in line with the international commitment made by the Nigerian government, under the open government partnership, and the extractive industry transparency initiative.

He said it was also deployed in line with the requirement of the financial action taskforce that countries should deploy publicly available register or beneficial owners of company.

He said, “so what we are doing today is to showcase to our stakeholders the first part of the register; we are working on the second part that will allow them to access the information on the beneficial ownership register in open data format.”

He stressed that the option to submit with pdf would still be there because not everybody would have the skill to submit in extensible reporting language.

One of the participants, Mrs Yvette Okwesi of Yvette Useghese Chambers, commended the commission for organising a forum to address some of the gaps and challenges customers faced in Lagos.

“So, the enlightenment programme sort of helps customers to know that there is hope.

“What they can do to further improve their services is continuous enlightenment.

“They should also ensure that the portal works for those who are not in Abuja and ensure enough hands are sent down to Lagos office, so that customers don’t have to be referred to Abuja each time there are challenges,” she said.

NAN reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Central Bank of Nigeria, Securities and Exchange Commission, among others, were represented at the forum.