Exporting guide to Nigeria

Overview

Nigeria has the largest population and economy in Africa. English is the most widely spoken language and Nigeria has similar business and legal practices to the UK.

Diversification means opportunity

UK expertise in engineering, science and technology means UK companies are well positioned to partner with Nigeria, as the government emphasises economic diversification to reduce the country’s dependence on oil.

The government's Economic Growth and Recovery Plan has outlined 60 initiatives. These are centred on agriculture, industrialisation, energy and social investment, creating more opportunities within increased public-private partnerships.

Lekki - Ikoyi Link Bridge

Nigeria: at a glance

Economic growth

-1.8%

Actual figure (IMF, 2020)
The UK is -9.3% (IMF, 2020, actual figure)

GDP per capita

$2,756

Actual figure (IMF, 2012)
The UK is $42,691 (IMF, 2012, actual figure)

Currency

Naira

Business languages

English

Time zone

GMT + 1

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Opportunities for UK exporters

There are opportunities for UK companies across a broad range of industries, and particularly in the following sectors:

Check for trade barriers

Trade barriers, such as tariffs or taxes, can raise costs, cause delays, or even stop you from exporting. Check for any issues that may impact your business when exporting.

See current trade barriers

See resolved trade barriers

Check duties and customs

Find information on how to export goods from the UK. View the duties, rules, restrictions, and the documents you need for your products.

See current duties and customs procedures

Doing business in Nigeria

Tax and customs

The UK and Nigeria have signed a double taxation agreement, ensuring the same income is not taxed in more than one country.

The Nigerian Customs Service can provide information on import entry, valuation, rules of origin, prohibited items and clearance procedures.

VAT

The Nigerian federal government charges 5% VAT, while state governments impose an additional 5%.

If you’re registered for VAT, it may be possible to zero-rate the goods you export to Nigeria, provided certain conditions are met.

Import duties

You’ll need to pay excise duty on any alcohol, alcoholic drinks, energy products, electricity or tobacco products you send to Nigeria.

You are encouraged to use a reputable customs clearance agent familiar with the country’s customs clearance formalities.

Regulations

Nigeria has very similar business and legal practices to the UK, and there are many laws and acts that provide a framework for businesses to operate in. These are regulated by a number of agencies in the country, including:

  • Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS)
  • Nigerian Corporate Affairs Commission
  • Nigerian Customs Service
  • Nigerian Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)
  • Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission
  • Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON)

Trade barriers

Check for any reported barriers to trading with Nigeria.

Report any trade barriers that are affecting your business so we can help fix them.

Protecting your business

Nigeria has implemented some protectionist measures, such as preference given to goods made in Nigeria and services for all oil and gas projects. There are a number of laws and regulatory bodies that specialise in different areas. It is therefore strongly recommended that UK companies entering into agreements in Nigeria take legal advice.

Intellectual property

Intellectual property (IP) rights are territorial. Rights granted in the UK do not provide protection elsewhere. You should consider getting IP protection abroad if you want to trade overseas or sell to overseas customers via the internet.

The Intellectual Property Office’s International IP Service provides practical information to help you protect, manage and enforce your IP abroad. Further support can be accessed through the service’s network of IP attachés. Based in key UK export markets, they provide guidance to British businesses on local IP matters.

Payment terms

Be wary of accepting cheques or credit for transactions, especially if you have not worked with the contact before. You may want to talk to a specialist about finance, including how to get paid in Nigeria, or you can contact the Department for International Trade (DIT) team in Nigeria.

Risks

Unfortunately fraud is prevalent in Nigeria, and UK businesses should carry out due diligence before embarking on any deals. Contact the DIT team in Nigeria if you’re in any doubt about the trustworthiness of business contacts.

Next steps

DIT can advise you on doing business abroad, and help put you in touch with other people who can help such as lawyers and distributors.