If you are thinking about importing to Nigeria, you are in the right place. If it is home goods and groceries, drinks, materials, or any other thing, importation to Nigeria is becoming more attainable. There are a number of steps to take you must take in order to be an authorized importer. This article covers the requirements that need to be met by an importer coming into Nigeria such as the use of storage facilities
Nigerian Import Requirements: Must-haves for Importers
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Before shipment, the importer must first ensure the following steps are taken:
Registration of the company name in Nigeria
If you are thinking of the importation business, your first step is to register your company name. On registration, you will obtain a Certificate of Incorporation/Registration in Nigeria.
You must also register your company with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS). Here you will have to submit an up to date proof of your tax payments, including a Tax Identification Number that must be connected to a valid email address and cell phone number. Visit the FIRS office and do this. If you do not register your Tax Identification Number, you will not be able to submit any import, export or Central Bank of Nigeria forms in the future. Neither will you be able to make any transit customs declarations with the Nigeria Customs Service.
Select a Nigerian bank to act as your Authorized Dealer Bank.
This bank will be responsible for processing your e-Form called form M and your PAAR and also act as your mediator between the Nigeria Customs Service and other parties.
Obtain Trade Insurance and Regulatory Certificates
Purchasing local trade insurance will protect you from loss by providing coverage for damage to your goods while in storage or during shipping. This will be of benefit to your importation business.
Register for the Trade Portal
When all the steps above have been taken, you can now register as an importer and user of the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal using your Tax Identification Number and the email address you provided to FIRS. This is done on the FIRS website. With the Single Window Trade Portal, you will be able to access the Nigerian governmental services, research trade information, submit trade documents, track your transaction, access the help desk, and find out information on government agencies involved in international trade.
After these steps have been taken, the importer is ready to import goods into Nigeria.
Below are the steps to be taken in order to clear your goods through the Nigeria Customs service:
- Obtain regulatory certificates: this is crucial for items that are regulated in Nigeria. Such includes food, drinks, and electronics. The regulation of items such as food, drinks, drugs, and chemicals is the National Agency for Food, Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC) while the regulation of items such as toys, electronics, automotive products, construction materials, appliances, paper, and stationary and protective safety equipment is done by the standard organization of Nigeria (SON). You must obtain the proper certificate from the appropriate authorities
- Activate the PC on the online single window mentioned earlier.
- Open an e- form M on the Nigerian Trade Platform (Single Window system) This is done by attaching the required documents which are:
The Insurance Certificate
The Proforma Invoice
The Product Certificate (this is for when the item is regulated by SON)
- Submit it to the Authorized Dealer Bank
- The Authorized Dealer Bank reviews/validates the Form M and sends it and other final importation documents to the Nigeria Custom Service
- The Nigerian Customs Service could either accept the Form M or reject it if it is not completed or lacks some vital information or documents
- When the Nigeria Customs Service has registered your e-Form M and has received the Final Import documents from your Authorized Dealer Bank, it will create a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report within six hours.
- In order to obtain the SONCAP certificate, you will contact Cotecna, the International Accreditation Firm, with the following documents:
The Final Invoice
The Bill of Lading/Airway Bill
The packing list
- You would then activate the SONCAP Certificate and apply for PAAR Pre-Arrival Assessment Report System which is issued on the Nigeria Single Window for Trade. The PAAR is issued and you can begin the clearance of your goods.
It is the responsibility of the importer to make sure that his supplier does the following:
- makes available its pro forma invoice
- Makes sure the description of the goods on the invoice is clear and understandable as well.
- send the final Documents to your Authorized Dealer Bank prior to the arrival of your goods
The importer is also responsible for ensuring that all the documents sent to the Authorized Dealer Bank are verifiable and genuine. All these will make the goods clearance more efficient.
After the Form M is accepted by the Nigerian Customs Service, the importer would forward a copy of the Form M to his exporter. The exporter will send in two sets each of the original copy of the following documents to its bank:
Original Combined Certificates of Value and Origin
Transport documents (bill of lading, road waybill, etc.)
The supplier’s bank will then forward the documents to its correspondent bank, who will then forward them to the Nigerian Authorized Dealer Bank for Letter of Credit transactions.
Note: Until recently, the importer was also required to submit a Combined Certificate Value & Origin (CCVO) which contains the following information:
Description of goods
Port of destination
Country of origin
Date of shipment
Country of supply and other necessary information.
However, in line with recommendations with stakeholders and international trading procedures the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) reviewed its trade transactions guidelines and replaced the submission of CCVO with that of the simpler Certificate of Origin
When the Authorized Dealer Bank has received the necessary documents, it will endorse and upload it to the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report System for the issuance of a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report. The bank must receive the necessary shipping documents within 21 days after the goods have been shipped and must also verify the validity of the documents received.
Before now, when importing to Nigeria, it will be inspected before shipment but this policy has been aborted in favour of a destination inspection policy. Here, all imports are inspected on arrival in Nigeria.