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Senate Holds Public Hearing on CAMA Amendment Bill

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The Senate Committees on Trade & Investment and Diaspora & NGOs conducted a public hearing on the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Amendment Bill (SB 904) before the Senate, on Monday, 28th March 2022. The event was supported by Policy and Legal Advocacy Centre (PLAC), the European Union Agents for Citizen-Driven Transformation (EU-ACT) and the British Council. The bill is sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC: Kwara) and seeks to amend some of the provisions that deal with the registration and operation of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) registered as Incorporated Trustees under part F of CAMA. The stated objective of the amendment is to strengthen the operations of  NGOs and their compliance with the provisions of CAMA.  It will be recalled that the bill passed second reading in the Senate on 9th February 2022. Ahead of the public hearing, the Committees issued calls for the submission of memoranda by interested individuals and organisations, articulating their positions on the proposed amendments.

Civil society organisations (CSOs) and the Ministry of Budget and National Planning, in their presentations at the event,  expressed support for the bill. The Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) however, expressed reservations on the proposed amendments, stating the need to maintain most of the provisions under the review as they are, for the purpose of regulating non-profit organisations. CSOs in their submission, called for the review of provisions that placed an additional burden on their operations, such as the requirement for a bi-annual statement of affairs, as well as the controversial section 839, which provides for the suspension of trustees of an association and the appointment of interim managers. This provision is perceived as giving wide and unrestricted powers to the CAC and raises the concern of possible abuse and interference with the operations of NGOs.

It will be recalled that the passage of CAMA 2020  was met with reservations from the non-profit community  due to several provisions negatively impacting the operations of NGOs, and this presented a major concern for shrinking civic space. The bill if passed, will serve to address some of these concerns.

Click to watch snippets of the public hearing: