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This is the third post in the series of “Accountability In Business” that I began writing a few weeks back. In the first post, I wrote about what accountability is and what it entails in business. I also shared what areas or persons your business needs to be accountable to. Just in case you have not read the two previous articles, here are the links to them.

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Just in case you have not done so, I will advise you to read the two previous posts before continuing here. This will help you get a better understanding of what I am writing on.

Accountability To Local Authorities, What Do We Mean?

When I speak of making your business accountable to local authorities, I am simply referring to you making your business legally responsible to the laws and regulations that guide the operation of businesses or your type of business within the locality you operate in. There are so many ways you will need to get this done.

Abide By The Laws, Rules And Regulations

There are laws, rules and regulations that guide the operation of businesses in the country. Take note of these laws, rules and regulations and abide by them. That is the first way to make your business accountable to the local authorities where you are operating the business.

Register The Business With The Authorities

In most countries, it is an offence for you to set up and operate a business without registering it with the necessary registration body. In Nigeria for instance, it is an offence for you to operate a business without registering the same with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), at least within 28 days of the establishment of the said business – check section 815 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) 2020.

Acquire The Necessary License

Certain businesses will require additional licenses or approvals for them to operate within a particular location. A food or health product processing business for instance will be committing a crime without first obtaining approval from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control Foods.

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So if your business is into food processing or manufacturing of health products in Nigeria, whether locally produced or imported, one way to keep your business accountable to the local authorities is to ensure you get licensed by NAFDAC.

There are so many other businesses that require one form of license or approval or the other such as educational institutions, hotels, mining, private security, investment agency, and so on.

Make your research on what kind of license or approval you need to operate a business in Nigeria. Also important to note, that every foreigner in Nigeria needs a business permit before they can do business in Nigeria, no matter the kind of business to be done.

Pay Your Tax As At When Due

Paying your tax is a duty you owe your government. It is both a moral and legal crime for you to do business without paying your tax. This is because you as an individual and your business enjoy certain amenities and infrastructures that your government provide. It is only ideal for you to support your government or the government in which you are operating your business, to continue providing you with the amenities and infrastructures to continue doing your business.

File The Necessary Returns For Your Business

Filing your annual returns is another way to keep your business accountable to the local authorities. In Nigeria, it is a compulsory requirement for businesses to file their annual returns with the CAC and also obtain their tax clearance from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

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So registering your business is not just enough, you must ensure you file your returns regularly. Also, there are certain returns you are expected to file with other important regulatory agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), depending on your type/kind of business.

Collaborate With Security Agencies

Security is not just the business of the Police, DSS, NCDC, and other security agencies in the country. It is everybody’s business. As a business owner, you must ensure your business is accountable to the security agencies.

Collaborate with them by ensuring you file or notify them of any security threat within your business environment. For instance, you may notice that a certain customer attempts to make a purchase using a stolen card, your first reaction may be to ignore it as none of your business. But by so doing, you have aided a crime.

Closing Thoughts

You may not see the need to make your business account to your local authorities, maybe due to the kind of government you have in place but still do it anyway. This is because the benefits of making your business account to your local authorities far outweigh any other benefit you may think you are getting from not being accountable.

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This article was first published on 20th May 2022


Ifegwu-Mbonu Victor is a Personal Growth and Leadership Trainer who provides training and coaching to individuals and organizations.

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