July 23, 2024

Global Rights tasks CSOs on compliance with extant regulations

An International organisation, “Global Rights” has urged Civil Society groups and all non-profits to ensure they comply with the regulatory extant laws to avoid impediments to the smooth running of their activities which it described as ‘pure service to humanity.’

The Program Manager, Global Rights, Edosa Oviawe, made the call on Monday in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital during a Regulatory Compliance training for CSOs supported by the European Union with the theme: “Strengthening a Community of Practice to Improve CSO Regulatory Environment In Nigeria.

Oviawe noted that a lot of CSOs are losing credibility and recognition in the country not because they were not doing a good job but because of their poor compliance with extant laws and regulations.

He also observed that some CSOs after registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, CAC, would go to sleep without knowing that the registration comes with some obligations, noting that the training was aimed at equipping them with requisite knowledge on how to follow through, after registration so that they would not be kicked out or incur avoidable penalties.

“We have understood that a lot of them are losing credibility not because they are not doing a good job but because the level of their regulatory compliance to extant regulation is very low. Many of them don’t even know what is required of them after registration. A lot of them started their work even before formal registration. They just went to the CAC register and left without knowing that the registration comes with some obligations so we are here to train these organisations to understand what is required of them.”

Delivering a paper on ” Corporate and Allied Matters”, Adekunle Adedeji, A Professor of Law and Senior Advocate of Nigeria advised CSOs to comply with the regulations that affect their operations which include: tax law, corporate government law, money laundering law and pension law noting that ignorance to these is not an excuse in law.

He further advised them to always hit the ground running as soon as they are incorporated by filing annual returns whether they are doing any project or not, and ensure they have a Compliance officer that would remind them of their compliance schedule and the time to file in their returns to avoid penalties.

Speaking on some of the provisions that seem to stifle the operations of the CSOs, Prof Adedeji said some of these complaints were ‘self-induced’ as the law binds every organisation and is not peculiar to NGOs and wondered how an organisation will not have a compliance schedule for over four years and expect not to be slammed with fine.

He, however, urged the government to look towards providing incentives to NGOs to continue with their good works as they provide for Small and Medium Enterprises, SMEs

Taking the participants through the Compliance process to avoid penalty, Princess Musa, (Esq) explained, “Getting back to compliance, the first point of call is ensuring that you have the Tax Identification Number, the next step is to register in the tax Promax site to make you start filing. Then you will start making payments. If the money is too much there is a space to pay in installment. Always follow FIRS online for updates and ensure you have a tax compliance officer who will start doing your filings, especially, annual returns. It’s always cheaper to be in compliance than to default and have accumulated fines.”

One of the participants, Ubong Ekpe, the Chief Operating Officer of Recycle Modelling of Health and Wealth Initiative in an interview, pointed out the outrageous cost of getting a CSO registered and incorporated in Akwa Ibom and hoped that the government would do something about it.

He added, “Sometimes their portals do not respond and when you apply, it takes a long time for your application to be accepted so we are looking forward to when the platform will be easier and give more room for citizens to engage.”

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