Regulations Guiding Small Businesses in Nigeria
The intention of any government and other approved bodies who set regulations to run businesses are so that there can be assurance of quality and level playing ground for all. This means that businesses especially those just starting up or running on a small scale must pay attention to these regulations so they aren’t on the wrong side of the law.
Some of these regulations include:
Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA)– The Companies and Allied Matters 1990 is the company law of Nigeria. This law regulates the different ways in which business may be carried out and is divided into three parts, each part dealing with one of those ways. The parts are Companies, Business Names, and Incorporated Trustees. Registration of businesses under the Act is carried out by and at the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The head office of CAC is in Abuja, the capital of Nigeria.
Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) – The Companies Income Tax Act (CITA) governs the taxation of companies other than those carrying out petroleum operations. The tax is self-assessed on a preceding year basis, i.e., the accounting period preceding the government’s fiscal year. However, a number of special rules apply on commencement, cessation and change in accounting date of a company. Failure to pay and file tax returns within the time limits specified in the CITA attracts certain penalties and interest.
Personal Income Tax Act (PITA) – The legal framework for the taxation of individuals and unincorporated entities in Nigeria is the Personal Income Tax Act (PITA), CAP, LFN 2004 as amended. PITA is administered by the state governments except in respect of persons employed in the Nigerian armed forces and the police other than in a civilian capacity; officers of the Nigerian foreign services; residents of Abuja; and non-residents who derive income from Nigeria.
Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Approvals – The Standard Organization of Nigeria requires companies in Nigeria that are into manufacturing and importation of unassembled goods to register their products with them. They enforce standardization processes.
Lagos State Signage Agency (LASSA) Approval – Lagos State Signage Agency (LASSA) approves the placement of signage, billboards etc. in Lagos. Some states have already followed Lagos State by also inaugurating their own Signage Agencies. Common displays such as having the name of your company on a wall or a stand alone object require LASSA approvals which can be obtained after following specified designs and paying fees.
Monthly Employee Deductions (Pension, NHF, PAYE) – Employee deductions are statutory payments all employers are expected to remit to respective bodies on behalf of their employees. Pension Fund deductions are remitted to the Pension Fund Custodians; The National Housing Fund (NHF) which is a contribution to the fund by employees to enable them access mortgage loans, is contributed to the Federal Mortgage Bank; while Pay As You Earn (PAYE) is the statutory income tax employees pay from their monthly salaries to the resident State Government. Failure to comply attracts various penalties as prescribed by law.
Local Government Permits and Levies – The Local Governments oversees several permits such as, Waste Disposal, Environmental Permits, etc. They take these levies seriously and can be quite persistent with collection. Default in payment of levies can lead to threat of closure of your premises.
As a small business owner, you should consult professionals as these regulations sometimes require some professional assistance from lawyers, accountants and other professionals depending on the regulation.