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Steps for importing goods to Nigeria

Here are 15 steps you need to start successfully importing goods into Nigeria.

Importing goods into Nigeria can be incredibly rewarding, but there are often hurdles to overcome. If you have thought of starting an import business in Nigeria but have no idea where to start, this is for you.We have compiled 15 steps you need to take to overcome the hurdles stopping you from importing into Nigeria.

Before we start, please note that the import process involves three main entities:

  1. Nigeria Customs Services
  2. Regulatory bodies (FIRS, SON, CBN).
  3. Authorized Dealer Bank

Here are the 15 steps you need to take for hassle free importation in Nigeria:

1. Carry out a market feasibility study to learn if there is a demand in Nigeria for your product(s).

2. Register your company with the Corporate Affairs Commission and receive either a Registered Company (RC) or Business Name (BN) number.

3. Ensure that your company is allotted a Tax Identification Number (TIN), with a valid e-mail address/telephone number tagged to your TIN number. Also, ensure that you pay your taxes regularly.

4. Register your TIN on the trade portal and validate the confirmation link sent to your email. Failing to register your TIN number will prevent future submissions of CBN (Central Bank of Nigeria) forms for your imports. Also, you will not be able to activate your SONCAP, PAAR, import permit and product certificates online.

5. Registered your company with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS).

6. Select a Bank in Nigeria which will act as your Authorized Dealer Bank (ADB). This Bank will process your Form M/PAAR as well as mediate between you (the importer), the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) and other bodies.

7. Visit your Bank of choice or discuss with the Foreign Trade Department or the account officer to gain insight into the bank’s rules and procedures for importation.

8. Find out the Harmonized System (H.S.) Codes for the products you wish to import by using the Nigeria Customs Service Common External Tariff (C.E.T). The bank will guide you in choosing an appropriate H.S. Code.

9. Understand the Federal Ministry of Finance Import guidelines.

10. Find out the regulatory programme and agency your imported product falls under. For SON regulated products please contact us with the proforma invoice and contact details of your exporter or manufacturer.

11. Inform the exporter about SON and the need for product certification, i.e. the Product Certificate (PC) and the SONCAP Certificate.

12. Obtain and activate the Product Certificate (PC) for the imported products online using the importer’s TIN and email used with FIRS.

13. Open the e-Form M with your bank of choice, attaching the activated PC.

14. Importer or exporter forwards the approved e-Form M to Cotecna for SONCAP issue.

15. Activate the SONCAP online with the importer’s TIN as stated on the certificate for PAAR issuance.

If these steps are taken, the import process into Nigeria should proceed without any unexpected complications and customs clearance will be authorized faster.


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