By Anayo Ezugwu
FOLLOWING the rejection of the Companies and Allied Matters Act, CAMA 2020 by the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, Taiwo Oyedele, West Africa Tax Leader, PWC, has advised CAN to put their house in order. He said that rather than resists every regulation or object to every reform effort, the right approach was to reform from within and then collaborate with the government to design appropriate regulations and contribute towards strengthening institutions and overall governance and lead by example.
In a series of tweets on his twitter handle @taiwoyedele on Friday, August 21, Oyedele said first it was the Financial Reporting Council now it is CAMA 2020 and the CAC. He regretted that at the heart of these controversies is the lack of trust in government, political office holders, and public institutions. “There has been uproar about the new CAMA2020 and regulation of NGOs. Let’s look at what the law says. Under the old CAMA, NGOs (including religious organizations) are registered as corporate bodies under Part C.
“In line with Section 608 of the old CAMA, an NGO is subject to dissolution by the court on a petition brought for that purpose by the governing board, trustees, members of the CAC on the ground that: it has realised the purpose for which it was established, or after the specified period for its existence; or the aims and objects have become illegal or contrary to public policy, and it is just and equitable that the body is dissolved.
“Section 593 of the old CAMA requires that where contributions are collected, there should be accounts that must be audited. In the new CAMA2020, Section 839 empowers the CAC (on the order of the Court) to suspend the trustees of an association and appoint interim managers where it believes there has been any misconduct or mismanagement, or it is necessary or desirable to protect the property of the NGO or to secure proper application of the property towards achieving its objects, or in the case of fraudulent activities or where the dissolution is in the public interest.
“Similar provisions exist in other countries particularly the West where we copied the concept of charities from. In the UK, the powers are exercised by the Charity Commission while in Canada the Charities Directorate of the Canada Revenue Agency is the primary regulator of registered Canadian Charities under the Income Tax Act, RSC, 1985, c.1 (5th Supp.)
“Not-for-profit organisations, including Religious bodies are registered on earth (not in heaven) so they must comply with rules and regulations by relevant authorities just like any other organisation. All entities registered under CAMA are subject to regulation so I do not think that NGOs should be different.
“While some provisions of the controversial 2019 NGO Bill were overreaching, it is also not right for NGOs to resist every reform or regulation. First it was the Financial Reporting Council now it is CAMA2020 and the CAC. He regretted that at the heart of these controversies is the lack of trust in government, political office holders and public institutions,” he said.
CAN had rejected CAMA 2020 on the grounds that it would snuff life out of the church and rank the church as a secular institution under secular control. The Christian body described as “satanic”, section 839 (1) and (2) of the law, which empowers the supervising minister “to suspend trustees of an association (in this case, the church) and appoint the interim managers to manage the affairs of the association for some given reasons”.
– Aug. 21, 2020 @ 14:55 GMT |