The purpose of this article is to show you a step by step guide on how to register a business name in Nigeria under the Companies and Allied Matters Act 2020 (CAMA 2020). A business name refers to the name and style of business in Nigeria. Business names are registered under part B of the CAMA 2020. For a step by step guide on how to register a company limited by liability in Nigeria, see this article.
Types of business names that should be registered in Nigeria
A business name is required to be registered within 28 days after the commencement of the business. However, there are some exceptions under CAMA 2020. For example, if you are doing business in your real name (e.g. John Smith or John Smith & Co), you do not have to register your business name. For more on the exceptions, see section 814 of CAMA 2020.
Registration of a business name in Nigeria can be either in respect of a sole proprietorship or a partnership. It is completely different from a company (Part A CAMA) and incorporated trustees (Part C CAMA).
A business name would be registered by the CAC if it doesn’t already exist. Also, your proposed business name should not be a restricted or prohibited name. Restricted names are solely reserved for particular types of companies and are subject to CAC consent for approval. Some names are strictly prohibited and would not be approved by the CAC. See section 852 of CAMA for more on prohibited names and restricted names.
Individuals or corporations can now go directly to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) website to register a business name in Nigeria without the services of a lawyer or a chartered accountant/secretary.
How to register a business name in Nigeria:
Requirements for registering a business name in Nigeria
Below is a checklist of the requirements for registering a business name in Nigeria:
- Proposed business name (Ideally you should propose multiple proposed business names in case one is not available).
- The purpose of the business you would like to start.
- A postal address for the business.
- An identification document (eg. passport, driver’s license, or voter’s card).
- A registration fee (currently ten thousand Naira).
Steps involved in registering a business in Nigeria:
Business name availability check and reservation:
You can conduct a public search on the CAC website for your proposed business name. This is to ensure that the business name is not currently being used by another person or organization.
The CAC website has a record of all business names and companies in Nigeria. Once you have confirmed that the name does not exist, you can proceed to pay for the reservation of your proposed business name on the CAC website.
It’s a pre-registration form that contains the Business Name details. This includes classification of the registration, the specific type of business Name (sole proprietorship/partnership), and two proposed business Names.
The objectives of the business include the reason why the business name is available (new registration for new businesses), the nature of the business category, and the specific nature of the business.
The presenter’s data include the name, phone number, email, and address of the person registering the business.
Lastly, a business name reservation fee of five hundred Naira (₦500) will be made via Remita.
After your desired business name has been reserved for you by the CAC, you can then proceed with the registration steps on the CAC website.
After a business name has been approved and reserved, go to the reserved button, click on the approval note and get the availability code.
Go to register a company and put in your availability code.
You will be required to put in the business commencement date and business address.
The particulars of the business proprietors will be required to be uploaded on the website.
Select the nature of your business and the category.
Select the CAC branch where you want your certificate to be collected. If you need a certified true copy (CTC), you can indicate it. It previews all data entered for the presenter to confirm.
Payment for registration, usually a sum of ten thousand Naira (₦10,000).
Upload of required documents such as identification (e.g. passport, or driving licence) and signature specimen.
After your application is submitted, you can monitor its status on the CAC website.
You might also be interested in ‘Starting a Business in Nigeria‘.
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