Stakeholders in the private sector have expressed grave concern and fear over the possibility of misplacement and mismanagement of sensitive documents as the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) embarks on the transmutation of age long documents from paper files to electronic.
Legal Practitioner and Vice President of Nigerian Association of Chamber of Commerce and Industry Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) Mr. Dele Oye who spoke about the ongoing transfer of corporate entities documents, which date as far back as 1912, to electronic mode, said though commendable, the exercise provides cause for worry, considering the fact that the individuals saddled with the responsibility to do the transfer may not understand the value of the documents and may not treat them with the needed care and attention.
“While the decision to transform these century long documents of the corporate records of Nigeria is quite a commendable initiative, it is difficult to ignore the fact that such a sensitive process and equally sensitive materials may not be handled with the kind of professional care required to forestall the possibility of misplacing and mixing up sensitive materials, which could create embarrassing situations for corporates,” Oye stressed.
He explained that such an activity cannot be carried out on an ad hoc and care free basis, pointing out the need for individuals who have actually carried out similar tasks in the past to be the ones saddled with this sort of responsibility.
“As a legal practitioner, I know the importance and the sensitivity of information and documents. I am not aware of the level of professionalism involved in the execution of this crucial task but I certainly think it should worry stakeholders at the very least that such an exercise is ongoing and we are not briefed as to the level of stringency being adopted in the execution of the assignment,” Oye added.
Also expressing concerns about the exercise, the Director General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf said the initiative though laudable must be carried out with the highest level of care to ensure accuracy to prevent the possibility of losing vital documents in the process.
He urged the CAC to set up intermittent review mechanisms along with the process to ensure that a review is done at various stages before the project is completed, noting that this would help to ensure early detection and rectification of anomalies.
The CAC recently announced that as part of its computerization exercise which began in 2004 it is now carrying out the transfer of all hard copy documents at the commission into electronic systems as soft copies.
According to CAC, the implication is that companies and organisations with records at the commission dating as far back as 1912, which are currently manually kept with the attendant risks of mutilation, pilferage and loss of valuable materials, will be manually transferred into electronic systems.
Speaking earlier about this exercise, the Registrar General of CAC Alhaji Bello Mahmud noted: “the commission has commenced the scanning of the back log of records of all companies, business names and incorporated trustees in order to permanently solve the problems of mutilation, pilferage and document loss while also making it possible for customers to access company information electronically on the world wide web.”