The Companies' and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) of 1990 (as amended) is the legal framework for the control and regulation of the activities of companies in Nigeria. The Act established the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) as an autonomous agency charged with the responsibility for the registration and regulation of companies, business names and incorporated trustees in Nigeria.

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Relevant documents Companies and Allied Matters Act 1990
Relevant institutions CAC

Types of Businesses

There are four (4) types of companies recognised for business in Nigeria:

1.     Private Limited Liability Company (LTD): This is the most common form of business set up by investors and it requires a minimum share capital of NGN 10, 000. A private limited liability company is a legal entity in its own right, separate from those who own it. The company requires a minimum of two (2) and a maximum of fifty (50) shareholders and directors. Such a company is restricted from transferring its shares freely and prohibited from inviting the public to subscribe to its shares, debentures and/or deposit money for fixed periods or payable at call, whether or not bearing interest.
2.     Public Limited Liability Company (PLC): The minimum share capital for this type of company is NGN 500,000. A Public Limited Company required a memorandum of Understanding of two (2) shareholders. There is no restriction  on the maximum number of shareholders or their right to transfer their shares freely. The public may be invited to subscribe to its capital and the shares may be traded on any securities Exchange.
3.     Company Limited by Guarantee (GTE): Generally incorporated as a not-for-profit, this kind of company limits its members’ liability to the amount of their respective guarantees. 

4.     Unlimited Company: This type of company has no limit on the liability of its members.

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Relevant institutions CAC

Business Incorporation Process

Businesses can be registered online via the CAC Company Registration Portal. Through this site, investors – or their agents – can conduct name searches, complete the required forms, submit all relevant incorporation documents, and also pay associated fees. However, investors may also visit the CAC office or the One-Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) to complete or submit paper applications.

The online registration process is laid out below:

  1. Create an account on the CAC portal. This can only be created by one of the company directors/shareholders or an accredited agent (a Lawyer, Chartered Accountant or a Chartered Secretary)
  2. Conduct name search and reserve a name.
  3. Complete registration form (CAC 1.1. Application for Registration) providing details of the directors, shareholders and nature of business.
  4. Pay CAC filing fees and stamp duty. The stamp will be electronically affixed once payment is made.
  5. Download completed online form and Memorandum and Articles of Association, then append signatures accordingly.
  6. Upload scanned documents for processing.
  7. Present original copies of uploaded documents and collect certificate of incorporation/registration from the preferred location. Once the certificate of incorporation is ready, a Tax Identification Number (TIN) will be generated by the Federal Inland Revenue Service and sent to registrant's email.

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Relevant institutions CAC FIRS

Documents required by CAC for Business Incorporation

  • Form CAC 1.1. Application for Registration
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association
  • Proficiency certificate (where applicable)
  • Recognized form of identification (passport bio-data page, drivers’ licence or National Identity Card) for Director(s)/Shareholder(s) and Secretary
  • Foreign Certificate of Incorporation and Board resolution for subscription to Nigerian company (where applicable)
  • Residence permit of resident foreigners (where applicable)
  • Stamp duty evidence of payment
  • Evidence of payment to CAC (the fees to be paid for incorporation is dependent on the volume of shares to be registered).  

   See Link: Summary of CAC fees and forms

Exemption from Incorporation

Foreign companies intending to do business in Nigeria may apply for exemption from the standard registration requirements if they are:

  • invited by any tier of government for specific individual projects;
  • executing specific individual loan projects on behalf of a donor country or international organisation;
  • foreign government-owned companies engaged solely in export promotion activities; and
  • engineering consultants or technical experts engaged in specialist projects with any tier of government
Such applications for exemption shall be forwarded to the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF).

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Relevant documents Companies Regulations (Amended) Companies and Allied Matter Act
Relevant institutions CAC

Registration with NIPC

According to Section 54 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA) Act 1 of  1990, all foreign company are required to incorporates a local company in Nigeria before commencing business.

The Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) Act 16 of 1995 established the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission to encourage, promote, and coordinate all investments in Nigeria. This act also regulates the participation of foreign businesses in the country. 

The NIPC Act provides for foreign nationals to own up to 100% equity and undertake any type of business in Nigeria except those related to the production of arms, ammunition, narcotics and related substances and any items indicated on the negative list as defined by section 31 of the Act. 

Section 20 of the NIPC Act requires all enterprises in which foreign participation is permitted to apply to the Commission for business registration. 

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Relevant documents NIPC Act
Relevant institutions NIPC

Documentation for Business Registration with NIPC

To process NIPC Business Registration, the following documents are required:

  • Duly completed NIPC Form I;
  • Memorandum & Articles of Association;
  • Evidence of Incorporation;
  • CAC Form 1.1 (or CAC Forms CO2 and CO7 for old companies);
  • Power of Attorney/ Letter of Authority (where applicable); and
  • Evidence of Payment of Processing fee (The payment for business registration is made via remita and non-refundable).
  • Processing Fee of N15,000.00 only

One-Stop Investment Centre (OSIC)

The One-Stop Investment Centre (OSIC) brings together relevant government agencies to one location to provide fast-tracked services to investors. The Centre is coordinated by the NIPC.

The objective of the Centre is to simplify business entry processes by removing administrative and regulatory bottlenecks pertaining to doing business in Nigeria.

The Centre presently has twenty-seven (27) participating agencies.

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Relevant institutions NIPC

Services at OSIC

Specifically OSIC provides the following services:

  • Granting of business entry approvals, licenses and authorizations within the shortest possible time;
  • Provision of general information on the Nigerian economy, investment climate, legal and regulatory framework, as well as sector and industry-specific information to aid existing and prospective investors in making informed business decisions; and
  • Facilitation and follow-up services on behalf of investors in all government ministries, departments and agencies.

Environmental Impact Assessment

NESREA Headquarters Abuja, Nigeria

The Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) is used to evaluate the probable positive and negative environmental, health and social impacts of a proposed project. The process provides the Federal Ministry of Environment and National Environmental Standards Regulatory and Enforcement Agency (NESREA) with information to determine the appropriate permit status of a project.

See Link: Permits

The procedures for obtaining EIA Certificate are outlined below:

  1. Applicant (i.e.approved company representative) submits a comprehensive project proposal and completed EIA Notification form to the Ministry of Environment.
  2. The Ministry registers the proposal and issues a registration number while providing necessary guidelines to the applicant.
  3. NESREA conducts an Initial Environmental Examination (IEE) and presents a screening report within 10 days.
  4. Applicant conducts a scoping exercise to ensure that all significant impacts and reasonable alternatives are addressed in the intended EIA. A public hearing may be requested if there is public interest in the project.
  5. The applicant submits the scope of the EIA, and if approved by NESREA, undertakes the EIA study.
  6. The applicant submits the draft EIA report. This should include proceedings of consultations with adjoining communities and other stakeholders.
  7. The draft EIA report is reviewed by an independent panel, relevant regulators and the public (the report is displayed in the public for a period of 21 working days.)
  8. Applicant develops and submits the final EIA report, incorporating all review comments.
  9. Ministry approves final EIA report; issues the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and the EIA Certificate
  10. Applicant proceeds to implement the project according to specifications and stipulated mitigation measures contained in the final EIA report. This process shall be monitored by the Ministry from site preparation to commissioning.

See Link: Environmental Guidelines Revision

Environmental Impact Assessment Fees

Item Cost (NGN)
Initial Deposit 250,000
Application Fee 10,000

What Investors Think

Investors commends the 24hrs turn around time for Enterprise incorporation; they agree that this has streamlined the business entry process. However, they look forward to full automation of the process.

Population and Skills

Federal Secretariat, Abuja

Africa’s most populous country has an estimated population of 193 million, with more than half of its people under 30 years of age. Adult literacy rate is 59.6%.


There are four levels of education in Nigeria:

  • Early childhood or Pre-primary (1 year);
  • Basic Education (9 years of Primary and Junior Secondary Education) - compulsory and free;
  • Senior Secondary Education (3 years);
  • Tertiary Education (4–6 years, depending on the course).

After obtaining the Basic Education Certificate, students can opt for 3 years of vocational education to obtain either the National Technical Certificate (NTC) or the National Business Certificate (NBC), both of which prepare their graduates to enter the labour market. The National Business and Technical Examination Board (NABTEB) conducts the examinations and issues the certificates.

On the other hand, students may choose to complete 3 years of senior secondary school, to obtain the Senior School Certificate, issued by either the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) or the National Examinations Council (NECO). This certificate is required alongside a successful completion of the University Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) to access higher education.

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Relevant institutions FMLE UBEC

Higher Education

Higher Education in Nigeria is provided by public and private sector-owned universities, polytechnics, monotechnics, colleges of education and professional institutions. 

Nigeria has the largest university system in Sub-Saharan Africa; its 154 universities offer several graduate programs and produce most of its skilled professionals. A Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board administers a national university entrance examination and informs universities of applicant scores.

There are 113 polytechnics in Nigeria. These run 2-year programmes leading to the National Diploma and Higher National Diploma (HND). 1 year of practical experience is required before admission into the HND programme.

85 colleges of education offer Teacher Training Programmes, leading to the award of the Nigeria Certificate in Education (NCE), the minimum teaching qualification, obtainable after 3 years of study.

The National Youth Service Corp (NYSC) is a mandatory one-year of service by Nigerian graduates. The service year includes a three-week camp with paramilitary training followed by formal sector work for the rest of the year while engaging in community developments. The NYSC certificate is a requirement for obtaining subsequent employment in the country.

Several professional Institutions regulate different occupational fields, most of them administering certification examinations to members according to their charter.  Passing these exams is considered a professional accomplishment which validates the competence of individuals in their respective fields.

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Relevant institutions NYSC

Employment and Contracts

The 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria provides for “equal pay for equal work without discrimination on account of sex, or any other grounds whatsoever”. An employer is required to give to each employee; a written contract within 3 months of engagement stating the particulars of the employer and the employee, the position and job description/functions, terms and conditions of the contract, confidentiality clauses, intellectual property rights, hours of work, remuneration, holiday and holiday pay, etc.

A typical workday comprises 8 hours from Mondays to Fridays, except on public holidays; however some businesses work on Saturdays.

An employment may be terminated if the parties to the contract jointly agree to do so. Generally, however, for an employment to be unilaterally terminated, a notice of termination (based on the terms of the contract of employment and/or the circumstances surrounding the employment) must be given or salary paid in lieu of such notice.

An employer may dismiss an employee where there is a fundamental breach of the employment contract. Employers are encouraged to itemise examples of cases that could lead to dismissal and inform the employees through their employment contract. No compensation is usually payable upon a valid dismissal.

The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment (FMLE) is responsible for industrial relations in general, including conciliation in labour disputes, technical training (through the Industrial Training Fund), manpower development, safety and welfare in the workplace, and supervision of trade union activities.

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Relevant documents Labour Act
Relevant institutions FMLE

Registration of Factories

Every person who occupies or intends to occupy a factory is mandated to apply for registration to the Director of Factories who shall issue a certificate of registration if the proposed factory is suitable. Employers are compelled under the Factories Act to protect workers against industrial hazards and display an extract of the Act in their factory premises.

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Relevant documents Factories Act
Relevant institutions FMLE


The National Minimum Wage is N18,000 per month. An employer is mandated to keep proper records of the wages and conditions of employment and to retain such records for three (3) years.

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Relevant institutions FMLE

Non-wage Benefits


Employees are entitled to annual leave with full pay of at least twelve (12) working days (for persons under the age of 16 years, including apprentices) and 6 working days for older employees.

Other paid holidays and vacations include public holidays and maternity leave - which are normally fully paid. Maternity leave is typically three (3) months paid leave while paternity leave (though not common) is usually 2 to 5 days of paid leave.  Nursing mothers are allowed half an hour twice a day to attend to their babies.

Sick Leave: An employee is entitled to a maximum of twelve (12) working days of paid sick leave in any calendar year, provided this sickness is certified by a registered medical practitioner.

Leave Benefits Table

Benefits Number of days Wages
Annual Minimum of 6 days (for employees above 16 years old) 12 days for persons below 16 years (including apprentices) Full Pay
Sick Leave Maximum of 12 days (certified by a registered medical practitioner Full Pay
Maternity Leave 12 weeks (comprising 6 weeks immediately before and after childbirth) Usually fully paid, but legally not less than 50% of wages, if the woman had been employed for at least 6 months.

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Relevant institutions FMLE

Social Security and Other Contributions

Contributory Pension Scheme

Under the Pension Reform Act of 2014, employers and employees are required to make a minimum contribution of 10% and 8% respectively of the employee's monthly emoluments to a Pension Fund Administrator chosen by the employee. In addition, an employer is also required to maintain a Group Life Insurance Policy for each employee for a minimum of three times the annual total emolument of the employee.

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Relevant documents Pension Reform Act 2014
Relevant institutions PENCOM

Employee Compensation Scheme

The Employee Compensation Act (ECA) provides for adequate compensation for employees or their dependants in the event of death, injury, disease or disability arising out of, or in the course of employment. The Act is also intended to provide for safer working conditions for employees, by ensuring that all relevant stakeholders contribute to the prevention of occupational hazards and disabilities. To this end, employers are required to contribute 1% of their payroll costs to the National Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) to cover employees from work-related accidents and death.

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Relevant documents Employee Compensation Act

National Housing Fund

The NHF seeks to facilitate the provision of houses to Nigerians at affordable prices. Employers are required to deduct 2.5% of employee’s basic salary and remit same to the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria within one month of such deduction.

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Relevant documents National Housing Fund Act

Health Insurance Scheme

The National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) provides all employees access to affordable health care. Companies with a minimum of ten (10) staff are expected to provide health insurance for their staff and their dependants.

National Health Insurance Scheme

Find out more...

Relevant documents NHIS Operational Guidelines National Health Act 2014
Relevant institutions NHIS

Industrial Training Fund

The ITF was established to promote the acquisition of skills in industry and commerce with a view to generating a pool of indigenous trained manpower sufficient to meet the needs of the economy. Employers are required to contribute 1% of annual payroll costs to the ITF, if they

  • have five (5) or more employees or an annual turnover of ₦50million and above;
  • bid for or solicit contracts, businesses, goods and services from public and private establishments;
  • require approval for Expatriate Quota; or
  • utilise Customs services for import and export.

However, the ITF Governing Council may refund of up to 50% of an employer’s contributions if he submits evidence of providing relevant training to his employees.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Industrial Training Fund Act 2011
Relevant institutions ITF

Summary of Contributions

Employer contribution
Employee Contribution
Pension Contribution                   
10% of employee’s salary                  
8% of salary                    
National Housing Fund
2.5% of basic salary
National Health Insurance Scheme            
10% of employee’s basic salary
5% of basic salary
Industrial Training Fund
1% of annual payroll
Employee Compensation Scheme
1% of annual payroll

Work Permits

Immigration Headquarters
Companies seeking to employ expatriates must apply for the Expatriate Quota, Subject-to-Regularisation (STR) visa and Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). Each of these is explained in detail below.

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Relevant documents Immigration Act 2015

Expatriate Quota

The Immigration Act, 2015 precludes any person other than a Nigerian citizen from accepting employment (not being employment by the Federal or State Government) without the consent in writing of the Minister of Interior. This consent is issued in the form of an Expatriate Quota (EQ) which permits companies to employ expatriates to specific job designations, and also specifies the duration of such employment.

An Expatriate Quota is granted for an initial period of three (3) years. It can however be renewed for further periods of two (2) years each subject to a maximum of ten (10) years. Limited quota positions are granted as Permanent until Reviewed (PUR) for senior executive positions such as the Chief Executive, Managing Director, or General Manager.

The Citizenship and Business Department of the Federal Ministry of Interior (FMI) is responsible for handling Expatriate Quota applications. The process may also be facilitated by the FMI desk at the One Stop Investment Centre (OSIC). 

The procedure and fees for obtaining the EQ (through NIPC) are outlined below:

  • Pay the online registration and processing fees through the FMI portal ;
  • Collect the Application Form (Business Form T1) from the FMI Business Department after payment has been confirmed;
  • Submit the company's application letter to the Permanent Secretary through OSIC Desk Office attaching all the required documents as  listed below;
  • Pay approval fee through the FMI portal. The total cost will depend on the number of expatriate quotas approved;
  • Collect the letter of approval from the Business Registry. This can be done by a company representative with valid identification.
ItemsFees (NGN)
Online Registration fee                      51,000               
Processing Fee30,000
Business Permit100,000
Each approved EQ slot30,000
Renewal of each EQ slot 20,000


  • Applicant must be a registered company in Nigeria with a minimum share capital of N10 million
  • The estimated time frame for processing Expatriate Quota is 14 working days.

Documents required for the EQ application

  • All CAC documents;
  • An application written on Company Letterhead, addressed to the Permanent Secretary of the FMI
  • Bank reference
  • Evidence of Capital Importation
  • Lease Agreement (in a case of rented building)
  • Training schedule for Nigerian employees
  • Current Tax Clearance Certificate
  • Relevant licences and authorisation
  • Joint Venture Agreement
  • Qualifications, Proposed Salary and Job Description of the expatriate

All the above documents are required for processing. Failure to submit any of the documents may lead to delays.

Subject to Regularisation (STR) visa

Once an EQ approval is granted, the expatriate concerned must obtain a Subject to Regularization (STR) visa from the Nigerian Mission in his country of residence. The STR is issued to expatriates coming to work in Nigeria based on the EQ approval. The process for applying for the STR is listed below:

  • Complete and print two copies of the online visa application form (IMM22).
  • Make online payment via and print the payment receipt.
  • Affix two (2) passport-sized photographs to the completed visa form and submit along with required documents in person or via post to the Nigerian Mission in the country of applicant’s residence.

An STR application is processed within seven (7) days. Visa fees are not fixed, however the Immigration Facilities Handbook 2017 contains the schedule of visa fees per country.

Documents required for the STR visa application

  • Formal application for STR Visa from the Employer/Institution accepting immigration responsibility
  • Valid passport with a minimum of 6 months validity and 2 blank pages for visa endorsement
  • Two (2) passport-sized photographs taken within the last six (6) months
  • Duly completed Visa Form IMM22 – available online (To be completed by the employer)
  • Expatriate Quota Approval
  • Evidence of financial support
  • Letters of Offer of Appointment and Acceptance of Offer
  • Educational qualifications and Curriculum Vitae of the expatriate concerned
  • Extract of Board Resolution**(applicable to CEOs, MDs and GMs)

Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card

Within ninety (90) days of arrival in Nigeria, the expatriate is expected to apply to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) – through his employer – for a Combined Expatriate Resident Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC). The employer must undertake to bear full immigration responsibility on behalf of the expatriate. The NIS assesses each application on its merit in line with the applicant’s qualifications, and takes a decision on the application. The CERPAC is valid for two years but can be renewed annually provided the Expatriate Quota is still valid and there are vacant positions.

CERPAC applications are processed within five (5) working days, and cost $1,000 per annum for all categories of expatriates.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions NIS

Other Permits

The following permits are also available to foreigners coming into Nigeria for business or work:

Business Visa

This is issued mainly to foreign business men and investors to enable them attend business meetings in Nigeria. It is obtainable at Nigerian Missions but may also be issued on arrival (See Visa on Arrival below). It is valid for 90 days - not extendable - but not for employment.

Temporary Work Permit (TWP)

A TWP is issued to experts invited to perform highly technical and short-term assignments such as installation and repair of equipment, commissioning, conducting specialized training, etc. It is a single-entry visa which is valid for 90 days but may be extended while in-country. The host company shoulders immigration responsibilities of such an expatriate throughout the period of stay in Nigeria.

Visa on Arrival (VoA)

This is available to frequent travellers, high net-worth investors or visitors who may not be able to obtain Nigerian visas due to the absence of a Nigerian mission in their countries or exigencies of business travels. However, the traveller must have obtained a ‘Visa on Arrival Approval Letter’ before commencing travel. Investors may apply for this approval through the Immigration Desk at the NIPC OSIC or by sending an email to
. The VoA approval letter is issued within 48 hours and is valid for 14 days. Upon arrival in Nigeria, the traveller will pay (or show evidence of online payment) for, and be issued, the visa.

ECOWAS Residence Card

Citizens of countries that are members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) can reside and work in Nigeria without residence permits; they are however required to apply for the ECOWAS Residence Card within 90 days of their arrival in Nigeria.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Immigration Facilities Handbook 2017 Immigration Act 2015 Executive Order 001
Relevant institutions NIS

Taxation of Expatriates

An expatriate is liable to tax in Nigeria if his employment costs are recharged to a Nigerian company; or he is in Nigeria for up to 183 days in a year (including leave and temporary absence); or where he is not liable to tax in another country which has a double tax agreement with Nigeria.

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Relevant institutions NIS

What Investors Think

Investors are optimistic about the quality of labour in Nigeria. They describe Nigerians as highly productive, fast learners, who can match anyone anywhere in the world. They however observed that in some instances, especially highly technical fields, they have to invest extensively in training new staff before they can get the desired quality of work from such staff.



The Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission (NERC) regulates the business of electricity generation, transmission, distribution and marketing in Nigeria.

Electricity is supplied directly to customers by the distribution companies (popularly called DisCos) which cover specific geographical areas as shown in the table below. There is also provision for licensing Independent Electricity Distribution Networks (IEDN) in addition to the DisCos.

The Multi-Year Tariff Order (MYTO) is the methodology adopted by NERC for setting electricity tariffs in Nigeria. It provides a 15-year tariff path with annual minor reviews, and major reviews every 5 years.

Customers are classified into any of the following tariff classes:

Residential (R)
 A customer who uses his premises exclusively as a residence i.e. house, flat, or multi-storey house.

Commercial (C)
A customer who uses his premises for any purpose other than exclusively as a residence or as a factory for manufacturing goods.

Industrial (I)
A customer who uses his premises for manufacturing goods including welding and ironmongery.

Special (A)
Agriculture and agro-allied industries, water boards, religious houses, government and teaching hospitals, government research institutes and educational establishments.

Street Lights (S)
Street Lights
Coverage area and average tariffs per distribution company

Distribution Company     
Coverage Area
Average Tariff (Kilowatt per hour)
Abuja, Nassarawa, Niger, Kogi
NGN 33
Edo, Delta, Ondo, Ekiti
NGN 33
Lagos South & Agbara (Ogun)
NGN 28
Anambra, Enugu, Abia, Imo, Ebonyi
NGN 35
Oyo, Ogun, Osun, Kwara
NGN 31
Lagos North
NGN 27
Plateau, Bauchi, Gombe, Benue
NGN 34
Kaduna, Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara
NGN 33
Kano, Jigawa, Katsina
NGN 30
Port Harcourt
Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa          
NGN 34
Adamawa, Yobe, Borno, Taraba
NGN 27

In order to improve power supply, NERC has developed a regulation on embedded generation which allows for power generation plants (including renewable energy) to be directly connected to and evacuated through a distribution network. It provides a window for investors, communities, state and local governments to generate and sell/utilize power without going through the transmission grid. In addition, the commission developed a mini-grid regulation which seeks to provide an improved power supply in un-served and under-served locations in the country, especially the rural communities.

Rural Electrification Agency (REA)

REA is a Federal Government Agency saddled with the responsibility of providing electricity to rural communities in Nigeria. Here, you will find information on the Agency’s activities, event line up and rural electrification projects.

The Rural Electrification Goal of the Federal Government of Nigeria is to increase access to electricity to 75% and 90% by 2020 and 2030 respectively and at least 10% of renewable energy mix by 2025, fully utilizing the Rural Electrification Policy (2005) & National Electric Power Policy (2001). Rural Electricity Users Cooperative Societies (REUCS) are expected to own, operate, and maintain Rural Electricity Systems mainly in Cooperation with DisCos and other professional private sector companies providing the know-how required to operate such systems. It is REA’s sustainability platform.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions NERC REA

Obtaining Electricity

The procedure for obtaining electricity is as laid out below:

  • The new consumer, through their licensed electrician, completes a new service application form requesting electricity supply from their distribution service centre. It is important for the customer to provide accurate information on their appliances to enable the DisCo determine the appropriate type of meter supply (single or 3-phase).
  • The DisCo conducts an installation inspection of the consumer’s location to assess the electrical wiring, confirm the electricity load requirements and assign the appropriate customer class.
  • The DisCo issues a list of required connection materials to the customer.
  • The customer purchases the required connection materials and presents them to the DisCo Service Centre for quality validation.
  • The Service Centre effects the connection at the customer premises within 48 hours, in addition to providing a meter and meter accessories.

The customer does not pay meter or installation costs as these are already covered by the electricity tariff.

See Link: Disco Tariffs


Usman Dam Water Resources

Responsibility for water supply is shared between the Federal, State and Local Governments. The Federal Ministry of Water Resources provides policy advice, monitoring and coordination of water resources development, while the State Water Agencies (SWA) are responsible for actual urban, semi-urban and rural water supply.

In Abuja, the source of urban water supply is not boreholes but surface water treatment system (River Usuma) then to our dam and treated for supply into our networks for customers. There are two types of water billing in Nigeria. Flat rate billing is allocated to the property type based on the estimated consumption per billing cycle. Meter rates on the other hand, help the government measure the actual consumption of water, and bill on that basis.

Water rates vary from state to state.

The table below shows the water rates in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT)  

FCT Water

Lagos State

Metered Rate         

Flat Rate                

Metered Rate           

Flat Rate

Commercial Premises             

$0.41 per m3           


$0.97 per m3  


Domestic Premises                    

$0.22 per m3                   


$0.70 per m3         


*Flat rates in Lagos are dependent on the property size. The above flat rate billing applies to standard 3-bedroom properties and will increase according to the size of the property.

Find out more...

Relevant institutions LSWC FMWR

FCT Water Board: The Procedure for Connection

  • The customer completes a water connection form. This form may be obtained free of charge from any of the Area offices or Headquarters.
  • The customer submits the completed form with all attachments such as proof of ownership of the property
  • The FCT Water Board inspects the property and advises on the materials needed and size (diameter) of pipe-connection available/suitable in the area.
  • The customer pays water connection fees to the bank and submits the teller for connection.
  • The Water Board lays relevant pipes and meters (where applicable) and connects water(within 2 weeks maximum)

Lagos State Water Board

Generally, especially in urban areas, boreholes are a major source of water for commercial and residential properties. However, the policy of the Lagos State Water Corporation (LSWC) is to meter all properties even where water comes from boreholes installed by the property owner, starting with commercial/industrial ones and this is being done gradually.



There are four major GSM (Global System for Mobile communication) operators in Nigeria: Airtel, Globacom, MTN and 9mobile with a combined subscriber base of about 150 million. The launching of GSM in the country has significantly improved the country’s domestic and international telecommunication services. Fixed Wired and Wireless services are provided by Visafone, Multilinks, MTN, Glo, Ntel, ipNX and 21st Century.

Under the current unified licensing regime, which was introduced by the Nigerian Communications Commission in 2006, there is no more segmentation of wireless licences into mobile and fixed service categories. On allocation of a spectrum, all licensees are free to offer voice, data or multimedia services as they deem fit. This harmonised platform has led to increased competition from all the telecommunication service operators in the country.

Each telecoms provider has an array of voice and data plans for customers to choose from. The number of internet users in Nigeria is about 90 million (or 53% of the population), which is the highest in Africa. Data services are provided by the afore-mentioned GSM operators, as well as several Internet Service Providers (ISP). Many of these offer fibre-optic services across the country, with 4G LTE available in Lagos, Ibadan, Abuja and Port Harcourt. Data plans vary by ISP, city, duration and choice of plan but monthly subscriptions start around $5.60 (excluding the cost of the modem).

Relevant Links: Tariff Information for major GSM companiesInternet Service Providers in NigeriaSubscriber statistics for mobile and fixed telephony services

Telcom prices

On-net callsUSD0.00032018per second
Off-net callsUSD0.00032018per second
Local SMSUSD0.01112018per unit
International SMSUSD0.04162018per unit
DataUSD0.00012018per kilobyte

Find out more...

Relevant institutions Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)

Road network

Road Network in Nigeria

With 195,000 km of roads, Nigeria has the largest road network in West Africa, and second largest South of the Sahara. About 32,000 km of these are federal roads; 31,000 km are state roads, while the rest are local government roads.

The road transport system remains the most widely used transportation system in the county, accounting for 90 percent of commodity movements to and from the seaports, and other internal movements of goods and persons. The federal road network accounts for about 70 percent of the national vehicular and freight traffic.

The Federal Ministry of Works is currently working to improve various sections of the Federal Highway network and has given top priority to the North-South, East-West routes used for the distribution of goods and services across the country and major bridges. Also prioritised are roads which link major routes, factories, agricultural producing hubs, mining depots, major ports and mineral producing areas.

The Trans-Africa Highway

The Trans-Africa Highway is a network of nine (9) highways being developed to connect all regions of Africa. It aims to give every African country access to markets and ports and alleviate poverty through the development of highway infrastructure and management of road-based trade corridors. When completed, the total length of the highways will be over 56, 000km.

Nigeria is strategically located along four routes of the highway:

  • The Trans-Sahara Highway which starts in Lagos, passing through Niger to Algeria
  • The Trans-Sahelian Highway (Dakar to Ndjamena) passes through 7 countries and 5 national capitals.
  • Trans-West African Coastal Highway starts in Nigeria and connects 12 West African nations to link Dakar
  • The Lagos to Mombasa Highway which will be the principal route between West and East Africa


Nigeria's railway system has 3,505 route kilometres and 4332 track kilometres, most of which is Cape gauge. The country has two major rail lines: a western line connecting Lagos to Nguru in Yobe state, and an eastern line connecting Port Harcourt to Maiduguri.

The Lagos–Kano Standard Gauge Railway is being built in segments to replace the Western Cape gauge line. The Abuja-Kaduna line (186km) has been completed and commissioned; the Ajaokuta to Warri Line (277km) is nearing completion, while work has commenced on the Lagos – Ibadan line (180km).

10 new standard gauge rail lines are currently being planned, and these will cover a travelling distance of 3,421 km when completed. The Abuja – Kaduna rail is Nigeria’s first high speed rail, travelling at 150km/h.

Several metro systems – such as the Abuja Light Rail, Lagos Rail Mass Transit and Rivers Mono Rail - are under construction, while the Calabar Mono rail was commissioned in 2017.


Abuja to Kaduna Naira9002017First Class (Adult)
Abuja to KadunaNaira4502017First Class (Children)
Abuja to KadunaNaira6002017Second Class (Adult)
Abuja to KadunaNaira3002017Second Class (Children)


The Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria operates five (5) international airports, located in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Enugu as well as eighteen (18) domestic ones. Passenger traffic at these airports in 2016 alone was 15 million.

Nigeria has bilateral air services agreement with eighty-eight (88) countries, with direct flights to North America, several European and African countries as well as connecting flights to the rest of the world.

The existing airport infrastructure is being expanded, and eleven (11) airports are currently being upgraded to international standards.


AbujaNaira25,2742018Economy Class
AbujaNaira45,0002018Business Class
Port HarcourtNaira25,2002018Economy Class
Port Harcourt Naira45,0002018Business Class
OwerriNaira45,0002018Business Class

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Relevant institutions FAAN NCAA


Nigeria has 8,600 km of inland waterways. The longest are the Niger River and its tributary, the Benue River but the most used, especially by larger powered boats and for commerce, are in the Niger Delta and along the coast from Lagos Lagoon to Cross River. Major transportation routes link the six major sea ports - Apapa, Tincan, Warri, Port Harcourt, Onne and Calabar – and other river ports and jetties.

There are 10 crude oil terminals. Nigeria records about 2,000 petroleum vessels, 35,000 vessels (excluding tankers) and cargo (excluding crude) averaging 80 million tons annually.

Twenty eight (28) of the nation’s thirty-six (36) states can be accessed through water. Nigeria can also link five neighbouring countries – Benin Republic (Port Novo), Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Chad and Niger Republic by water.

Current initiatives in the maritime sector include capital and infrastructure improvement, channel dredging and maintenance and installation of safety facilities aimed at increasing the share of water transportation. Nigeria is currently expanding existing ports and building 5 deep sea ports in Lagos, Ogun, Delta, Bayelsa and Akwa Ibom states, one of which is expected to be the largest in Africa.

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Relevant institutions NIWA NPA

Opportunities in the Nigerian Maritime Sector

Thus, emerging opportunities in the Nigerian maritime sector include the following:

1. Manpower and Human Capacity Development:

The maritime industry is highly labour and capital-intensive, and as such requires adequate funding, government support and policy consistencies to solve the manpower challenges it currently faces in Nigeria. One of the areas of Focus of the Federal Ministry of Transportation is ensuring adequate human capital development in the sector with special intervention for seafarers development to close up the existing gap in the industry. Recently NIMASA sponsored a total of 289 cadets for sea time (on board training) in Europe and Egypt under the Nigeria Seafarers Development Programme NSDP. Recent government efforts to fund the establishment of maritime institutions across the country are welcome developments that are worthy of commendation. Interventions such as this will definitely boost manpower development in the industry. Equally, collaboration between the various agencies in the industry, in carrying out their responsibilities, will raise the operational performance and efficiency of the sector.

2. Maritime Infrastructural Development:

A number of factors are responsible for the development of seaports and the supportive logistics infrastructure in Nigeria. This emphasises that maritime infrastructural development is a function of reaction to economic dynamics and global changes, which currently requires the urgent need to restructure and reposition for efficiency and functionality. In Nigeria, maritime infrastructural development, especially seaports, is often determined by:

  • Increase in merchandise trade, particularly seaborne trade, which suggests for either the modernisation or expansion of port infrastructure and facilities; 
  • Congestions or delays in the rendering of services, as a result of operational inefficiency, overutilisation of port capacity and shortage in human capacity;
  • Technological innovations put in place to support manpower (in terms of containerisation, roll-on-rolloff needs, very large tanker vessels, draft level) and/ or;
  • International conventions compelling signatory nations to effect and respond to developments. These determinants mentioned above somehow justified the response of the Federal Government to maritime and port-related infrastructure development, either through policy reforms, improvement in foreign direct investment, increased production volumes of crude oil and gas, environmental safety, financing, especially the Cabotage Vessel Finance Fund (CVFF) and shipyard building and repairs.

3. Globalisation and the Application of New Technology:

The application of innovative technology is possibly the strongest determinant of development in any maritime industry. From operational re-engineering to the architectural design of vessels, and dredging in an attempt to increase water draft levels within complex international trade development, there is indeed heavy reliance on technological interventions, as they affect virtually every aspect of maritime transportation. There is need for a constant response to the dynamics of technology and the globalisation tendency by the Nigerian government, all in an attempt to pursue sustainable maritime industry growth that could support international trade.

4. Maritime Research and Development:

There are numerous areas of research need associated with the maritime industry. NIMASA has established various maritime institutions designed to provide maritime education and research support to the industry. However, the absence of training vessels for practical application of theoretical knowledge remains a major setback, as this is imperative for professional qualification in the industry. The establishment of national fleets is suggested to provide onboard experience to prospective seafarers. Also, industry operators/stakeholders should be incentivised to conduct research that would benefit the industry, while more joint venture partnerships with foreign companies should be entered into, to facilitate the exchange of research ideas.

5. Maritime Security:

The International Maritime Bureau reports that in 2016, the Nigerian waters were largely unsafe due to the persistence of kidnapping incidents, as a direct result of the presence of pirates on these waters. While some progress has been made in boosting security in this area so far, there is still the need for greater focus in the efforts of security agencies in curtailing the occurrence of these incidents. There has been the renewed push for the naval police and Maritime Patrol Aircraft to be adequately equipped with modern arms and vehicles for the effective containment of criminal elements in our waters.

There is an equally the intensified drive for continuous investment in maritime security, as well as the creation of an enabling environment for the attraction of investors through maritime tourism and marine agriculture, towards sustainable development.

6. Marine Agriculture:

The increasing demand for food and water creates an opportunity for mariculture as a result of Nigeria‘s growing population, without an increasing pressure on terrestrial and marine habitats. Aquaculture, done well, offers a huge potential not just for producing food, but also providing livelihoods to coastal communities and in the effort to recover lost ecosystem services. The development of marine agriculture would be enhanced by improved security, the ratification and implementation of Port State Management Agreement (PSMA) and the formulation of a protectionist policy for investors-all presently being considered by the relevant authorities.

7. Marine Insurance:

In spite of the rapid growth of Nigeria‘s maritime sector, existing marine insurance products available in the country are considered to be primarily simple in structure and may not suit the needs of the fast-changing global market. In this respect, marine insurance companies could offer innovative products to provide comprehensive insurance solutions and innovative marine insurance products in order to serve Nigerian interests in overseas markets better. In this respect, any insurance company in Nigeria with the experience of insuring infrastructural projects, such as ports and related infrastructure development, should find a wealth of opportunities in offering tailor-made and advanced insurance products suitable for serving the needs of the shipping community.

8. Marine Tourism:

Tourism demand is increasing worldwide, and there are opportunities for investors and the government to exploit Nigeria‘s coastal and maritime resorts for revenue generation and job creation. These opportunities include the creation of a marine mall, cruise ships and the fostering of marine sports. With the enabling government policies, improved security, and enhanced safety operations driving the growth of marine tourism, this can be a huge area of opportunity going forward. .

9. Waste Management:

Control of the negative environmental impacts of a construction project in a marine environment, ensuring the pro-activity of the infrastructures and seizing the benefits associated with their presence at sea, in order to enhance specific ecological functions and marine biodiversity is also an area of opportunity in the maritime industry in Nigeria. These services include the design, construction, and supply of solutions for the restoration and enhancement of marine biodiversity, ecological integration of maritime infrastructures, support of fisheries and leisure activities, ecological restoration of damaged marine areas and coastal adaptation to climate change. These opportunities would be driven by improved policy development in terms of remediation for safety and management. Till date any discussion of the Nigerian ocean economy is narrowed down to the traditional domain of shipping, fishing and offshore oil and gas. Critical issues for the next three years in this regard, include:

ii. Mapping and Development of Marine Ecosystems

iii. Mapping and Development of Ocean Economy Intermediaries

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Relevant documents

Transport Costs

The table below shows indicative freight rates of laden containers to and from major trading routes.

SIZE OF CONTAINER                        10FT                           15FT                         20FT                           40FT

TRADE ROUTES                     
East/South Africa $1,200        
North/West Africa $392 $413$782$817$782$817$2,202$ 1,595

Europe/Middle East

South America/ Mexico $1,203$903$2,405
$1,8052,405$1,805$3,805$ 2,380
North America/ Canada $1,405$988$2,810$1,9752,810$1,975$4,135$3,263 
Far East/ China, Japan $1,544$282$3,088$1,6573,088$1,657$4,736$2,829 
Far East/ India, Australia $1,916$3,835$3,835$1,7603,835$1,760$6,086$3,300 

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Other costs

The Cost of Living in Nigeria varies from city to city, with Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt being the most expensive. Prices in the table below would generally apply to these cities, and are accurate as at November 2017.


Petrol/FuelUSD0.4120181 litre
DieselUSD0.5120181 litre
MilkUSD1.3720181 litre
BreadUSD0.9420181 loaf
RiceUSD2.2720181 kg
EggsUSD1.682018Pack of 12 eggs
Chicken BreastsUSD3.5420181 kg
Beef RoundUSD3.9520181 kg
ApplesUSD2.6020181 kg
Bottled waterUSD0.4520181.5 litres
Domestic beerUSD0.8420180.5 litre bottle
Imported beerUSD1.7720180.33 litre bottle
Coca ColaUSD1.1820182 litre bottle

What Investors Think

Investors expressed the desire for a more consistent and predictable government policy as regards to infrastructure development. They stressed the need for speedy improvement in the power generation and distribution to reduce operating costs and create competititve market. 

Land Administration


The Land Use Act of 1978 vests ownership of all urban land within a state (except those vested in the Federal Government or its agent) in the State Governor who holds land in trust for the people and allocates same for residential, commercial, agricultural and other purposes. Similar powers with respect to rural (or non-urban) areas are vested in the Local Governments. This means the government becomes the lessor, responsible for granting leases.

There are two rights of occupancy: a statutory right of occupancy granted by the State Government and a customary right of occupancy granted by the Local Government. Leases are typically granted for 99 years, subject to review upon expiration. Title deeds/documents serve as documentary evidence of ownership and include:

Certificate of Occupancy (C of O)

This is a title document issued by the President, Governor or Local Government Chairperson which contain the terms of lease and grant rights of occupancy to the holder for the leasehold term stipulated therein.

Deed of assignment

This is a document of transfer of land from a seller to a buyer. It outlines the agreement between the person with the rights to a piece of land and the person to whom the rights are being transferred. It contains a detailed description of the land (including its ownership history), the agreed cost, and the date from which transfer takes effect.

Governor’s Consent

This is a legal document authorising the transfer of land from one person to another. In the case of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), it is called Minister’s consent.

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Relevant documents Land Use Act
Relevant institutions FCDA

Land Acquisition

A foreign investor cannot acquire land in Nigeria. He/she will need to partner with a Nigerian to establish a company before land can be allocated.

In states, land registration and administration procedures are undertaken by the Land Use and Allocation Committees (for urban land) and land allocation advisory committees (for non-urban land). In the FCT, the Department of Land Administration under the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) is responsible.

Land application and allocation procedures vary from State to State.

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Relevant institutions FCDA AGIS

Land Acquisition Procedure in FCT

Below is the procedure for acquiring land in Abuja.

  • Download the form – ‘Application for Grant/Re-grant of a Statutory Right of Occupancy’ online
  • Complete the form and pay application processing fee (N100, 000 for commercial land and N50, 000 for residential land) at designated banks.
  • Present evidence of payment (teller) to the Abuja Geographic Information System (AGIS) to obtain a receipt.
  • Submit the completed application form with the following documents.

a.  Photocopy of the receipt (from Step 3 above)
b.  Two passport-sized photographs
b.  Means of identification (national ID card, drivers’ license, passport)
d.   Tax Clearance Certificate
  Steps B – D above apply for land being acquired for residential purposes.
  (For land being acquired for real estate development or commercial purposes),
e.  Schematic design of the proposed building
f.  Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA),
g.  Evidence of Financial & Technical Capacity
h.  Company registration certificates – CAC Form, Corporate Tax Clearance Certificates.

Due to the delays in acquiring government land, most people and institutions often purchase land from individual owners. However, the FCTA advises against this especially for foreign investors. NIPC can support investors with obtaining concessions and/or fast-tracking the acquisition of government land. Investors should however note that the FCTA does not sell land. The organisation only allocates and collects the processing fees, Certificate of Occupancy fees and annual ground rent.

The Abuja Master Plan has designated different areas for Residential, Commercial, Religious, Recreational, Industrial, Educational, Health, Institutional and Agricultural purposes and the FCTA monitors all land allocation to ensure adherence to the plan.

Relevant Link: FCT LandAdministration Processes

Land Costs

There are no fixed costs for land in Nigeria, and the charges applicable vary from state to state. The costs below apply to properties in Lagos state:

Type of property
     Indicative Cost     
Land in Eko Atlantic City
     Purchase, per square meter       
Land in Victoria Island
     Purchase, per square meter
Land in Banana Island, Ikoyi
     Purchase, per square meter
Duplex in Ikoyi/Victoria Island
     Rent, per annum
Apartment in Ikoyi/Victoria Island
     Rent, per annum
4 -5 Bedroom house (Lagos Mainland)        
4 -5 Bedroom house (Lagos Island)

Construction Permit Procedures

AGIS Office Complex

A building plan approval is necessary before construction can commence. Each state has a ministry, department or agency responsible for issuing these permits.

In Abuja, building permits are processed by the FCTA’s Department of Development Control (DODC) which provides the following guidelines to aid the process:

  • The applicant should have proper title (obtainable from the AGIS) over the land in question.
  • The applicant must abide by the specific use for which the title is granted, in line with the Abuja Master Plan. Land uses are categorized as Residential, Commercial, Religious, Recreational, Institutional, Educational, Health, Industrial and Green trees.
  • Only building plans prepared by, and bearing the seal and stamps of registered professionals (town planners, architects and engineers) will be accepted for processing.
  • Each construction site must have in its team a Registered Structural Engineer or Builder or Architect who must be available on site during construction work. Otherwise such sites will be sealed or prevented from carrying on with its works
  • Throughout the duration of construction works, both the approved building plan and development permit must be kept on site for purposes of guiding the work and for sighing by officer carrying out routine inspection.

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Relevant institutions AGIS FCDA

Obtaining Construction Permit

  • Obtain the application form and a copy of the Development Control Guidelines
  • Complete the form: Depending on the type of permit being requested, it may be necessary to consult the neighbours of the property in question, especially those that will be affected by the proposed construction.
  • Submit the application alongside the following documents:
  • Evidence of rights over the land (Right of occupancy, Certificate of occupancy, Title Deed Plan and fulfillment of financial obligations).
  • A site plan and detailed site analysis report certificate by a registered town planner.
  • Environmental Impact Analysis (EIA) Report for commercial, industrial, public building, recreational, large scale residential development, change of use of plot or on existing buildings and any other land use as may be deemed necessary, prepared and authenticated by a registered town planner.
  • All application in respect of Special Development such as Petrol Filling Station, Water Supply, drilling/Outlets, private health and educational facilities, child welfare related developments etc. shall be accompanied by letters/license of the relevant regulatory body
  •   4. On assessment/verification of content of application, appropriate acknowledgment letter shall be issued to the applicant by the DODC,
  •       alongside bills for processing application.
  •   5. Applicants must pay full processing fee within two (2) weeks of receipt of acknowledgment and bill before the permit is processed.


FCTA Construction Permit Procedures

Free Trade Zones

NEPZA Headquaters

Free Trade Zones (FTZ) are designed to attract foreign direct investment, increase foreign exchange earnings, promote technology transfer and develop export-oriented industry in Nigeria.The Nigerian Export Processing Zone Authority (NEPZA) was established by the Nigeria Free Trade Zone Act 1992 to grant all approvals for operators within the FTZ to the exclusion of other government bodies and agencies.

There are 33 FTZs with 15 operational and 18 under construction. Some of the operational FTZs are: Calabar Free Zone, Kano Free Zone, Lekki Free Zone, Tinapa Free Zone and Tourism Resort, Onne Oil and Gas Export Free Zone, Olokola Free Zone.

Foreign investors can set up businesses directly in FTZs without incorporating a company in the customs territory. Registered companies may also register separately and operate in an FTZ. Such registered FTZ entity would have a suffix FZE at the end of its name. 

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Relevant documents NEPZA 2004 Regulations
Relevant institutions NEPZA OGFZA

Procedure to Set Up Free Trade Zones

    • Complete an application form. This can be downloaded online, obtained from the Free Zone Administration or from NEPZA HQ in Abuja.
    • Submit a completed application form to the Zone Administration or NEPZA Office along with a Project Plan/Feasibility Study. Applications are reviewed and either approved or returned with observations within five (5) working days.
    • Upon approval, an Operating License (OPL) will be issued by the Free Zone Administration. This licence constitutes registration and no further registration is required with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). At this point, the Free Zone Administration will discuss site location and assign a space to the business.
    • Remit investment capital through a bank located in the zone which will issue a Certificate of Capital Importation.
    • Prepare building or warehouse space. Investors constructing their own buildings must submit four (4) copies of full architectural drawings for approval by Zone Management according to established building codes. Built-up spaces should not exceed 70% of the leased land, and construction should start within three (3) months after execution of agreement.
    • Move in and operate. Government has designed the process to be as streamlined and user friendly as possible. Some companies may need to obtain permission for their foreign employees through the immigration desk offices in the free zones.
Interested individuals or organisations may also set up a free zone following the procedure below:

    • Payment of US$1,000.00 or its Naira-equivalent to NEPZA as application fee
    • Submission of application letter indicating interest to establish a zone, and relevant documents (feasibility study, land title and survey documents, EIA report etc.)
    • Inspection of proposed site by NEPZA Officials
    • Recommendation for approval will be passed to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment by NEPZA.
    • Recommendation will be passed to the President by Minister for final approval.
    • Approval or comments from Presidency will be communicated back to the investor by NEPZA
    • Issuance of Free Zone Declaration License on payment of licensing and operating fees.

An FTZ entity enjoys several incentives:

    • Exemption from all Federal, State and Local Government Taxes, Rates, and Levies
    • Duty-free importation of capital goods, machinery/components, spare parts, raw materials and consumable items in the zones.
    • 100% foreign ownership of investments.
    • 100% repatriation of capital, profits and dividends.
    • Waiver of all imports and export licenses.
    • One-stop approvals for permits, operating license and incorporation papers.
    • Permission to sell 100% of goods into the domestic market (in which case applicable customs duty on imported raw materials shall apply).
    • For prohibited items in the custom territory, free zone goods are allowed for sale provided such goods meet the requirement of up to 35% domestic value addition.
    • Rent-free land during the first 6 months of construction (for government owned zones).

Investment Procedures for Free Zones in Nigeria

What Investors Think

There is land availability in Nigeria for investors including in the economic zones. However investors are concerned about the administration and procedure. Governments across the tiers are encouraged to further streamline the process to facilitate reliable access.  

Tax Introduction

FIRS Headquarters Abuja, Nigeria

All businesses which operate in and derive income from Nigeria are liable to pay tax. The Nigerian tax system operates a self-assessment regime which allows taxpayers to assess, pay and file tax returns as prescribed in the extant tax laws.

Taxation in Nigeria is based on the three tiers of government as follows:

  • The Federal Government through the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) has jurisdiction over Companies Income Tax, Tertiary Education Tax, Personal Income Tax for non-residents, Capital Gains Tax (on capital gains made by companies), Value Added Tax, Petroleum Profits Tax, Stamp Duties payable on transactions involving corporate bodies.
  • The States and the Federal Capital Territory have responsibility for collecting taxes payable by individuals resident in their territories. These include Personal Income Tax, Capital Gains Tax and Stamp Duties on instruments executed by individuals.
  • The Local Governments are responsible for miscellaneous taxes, levies and rates, such as tenement rates.

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Relevant documents Nigeria Tax Policy FIRS Tax Law Compendium
Relevant institutions FIRS

The Nigerian Tax Legislation

Nigeria has a body of laws that provide for the levying of taxes and tax administration in the country.

The following are the existing tax legislation in Nigeria, as at 2016:

  • Associated Gas Re-Injection Act
  • Capital Gains Tax Act
  • Casino Act
  • Companies Income Tax Act
  • Deep Offshore and Inland Basin Production Sharing Contracts Act
  • Federal Inland Revenue Service (Establishment) Act
  • Income Tax (Authorised Communications) Act
  • Industrial Development (Income Tax Relief) Act
  • Industrial Inspectorate Act
  • National Information Technology Development Act
  • Nigerian Export Processing Zones Act
  • Nigeria LNG (Fiscal Incentive Guarantees and Assurances) Act
  • Oil and Gas Export Free Zones Act
  • Personal Income Tax Act
  • Petroleum Profits Tax Act
  • Stamp Duties Act
  • Tertiary Education Trust Fund Act
  • Taxes and Levies (Approved List for Collection) Act
  • Value Added Tax Act

Reviews, amendments and modifications to tax legislations are continuous, evolving with global best practices and in keeping with the local socio-economic realities. The review and amendment of tax legislation is in keeping with the formal tax amendment process as provided for in the Nigerian constitution.

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Relevant documents FIRS Tax Law Compendium
Relevant institutions FIRS

Companies Income Tax (CIT)

This is a tax chargeable on all resident and non-resident companies (other than those engaged in petroleum operations) incorporated in Nigeria. Also known as corporate tax, the CIT rate is 30% of the profit earned in the year preceding assessment.

Resident companies are liable to CIT on their worldwide income (profits accruing in, derived from, brought into, or received in Nigeria) while non-residents are subject to CIT on the income derived from their Nigerian operations. A non-resident company with a fixed base in Nigeria is taxable on the profits attributable to that fixed based. Any WHT deducted at source from its Nigeria-source income is available as offset against the CIT liability.

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Relevant documents Companies Income Tax Act
Relevant institutions FIRS

Stamp Duties

Stamp Duties are basically taxes paid to the Federal or State Government on documents ( also known as instruments for the purpose of the Stamp Duties Act) such as Conveyances on Sale, Bills of Exchange, Promissory notes, Agreements, Contracts or even documents such as Letters and Certificates of Admission, Instruments of Apprenticeship, Insurance Policies etc. The payment of Stamp Duties is backed by legislation, the law being the Stamp Duties Act 1939 (as amended by numerous Acts and various resolutions and contained in Vol 22 Cap 411 LFN 1990). It also provides a list of documents in its Schedule and the duty payable on each of them. 

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Relevant documents Stamp Duty Act
Relevant institutions FIRS

Personal Income Tax (PIT)

The Personal Income Tax is charged on the income of individuals, employees, partnerships and incorporated trustees on the basis of residency and payable to the State Government. The Act requires an employer to deduct and remit its employee income tax under the Pay-As-You-Earn (PAYE) scheme. As such, the employer is required to register with the respective State Board of Internal Revenue (SBIR) to which each employee’s taxes are payable.

Personal income tax rate is applied on a graduated scale on taxable annual income. A Consolidated Relief Allowance shall be granted at a flat rate of N200,000 plus 20% of gross income subject to a minimum tax of 1% of gross income whichever is higher.

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Relevant documents Personal Income Tax Act Personal Income Tax Act (amended)
Relevant institutions FIRS

Petroleum Profit Tax

Petroleum Profit Tax is levied on the income of companies engaged in upstream petroleum operations in lieu of CIT. The rates vary as follows:

  • 50% for petroleum operations under Production Sharing Contracts (PSC) with the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
  • 65.75% for non-PSC operations, including joint ventures (JVs), in the first five years during which the company has not fully amortised all pre-production capitalised expenditure.
  • 85% for non-PSC operations after the first five years.

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Relevant documents Petroleum Profit Tax Act
Relevant institutions FIRS

Tertiary Education Tax

All resident companies are required to contribute 2% of their assessable profits to the Tertiary Education Fund. This tax is usually filed alongside the relevant tax return (PPT or CIT).For companies subject to Petroleum Profit Tax,Tertiary Education Tax is treated as an allowable deduction.

Non-resident companies and unincorporated entities are exempt from Tertiary Education Tax.

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Relevant documents TETFund Act
Relevant institutions FIRS

Value-Added Tax

VAT is a consumption tax charged at 5% on the supply of taxable goods and services. All taxable persons are expected to obtain a VAT registration certificate, and display their Tax Identification (TIN) on all invoices. Oil and gas companies and government agencies are required to remit VAT on their purchases directly to the FIRS rather than pay it over to their vendors. A non-resident company carrying on business in Nigeria only needs to register for VAT using the address of its local counter-party and include the tax on its invoice. A Nigerian company is expected to remit the VAT directly to the FIRS rather than pay it over to a non-resident company. 

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Relevant documents Value Added Tax
Relevant institutions FIRS

Capital Gains Act

This is a 10% tax imposed on capital gains arising from a sale, exchange or other disposal of properties known as chargeable assets. Payable by corporate entities (including pioneer companies) and individuals, this tax is jointly administered by the FIRS and State Internal Revenue Services.

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Relevant documents Capital Gains Act
Relevant institutions FIRS

Withholding Tax

This is an advance payment of income tax which is made on account of the ultimate income tax liability of the taxpayers (individuals and companies). Withholding tax accruing from payments to companies is remitted to FIRS while payments from individuals should be remitted to SBIRs. The under-listed WHT rates are applicable to all resident and non-resident companies and individuals.

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Relevant institutions FIRS

Tax Registration Process

The first step to paying taxes for businesses in Nigeria is the registration of such a business. A free Taxpayer Identification Number (TIN) is automatically generated after registering the business, and this enables the business to start paying taxes.

  • The TIN is been generated for all registered companies and enterprises. For new business owners, the TIN is generated automatically after incorporating the business.
  • Registered businesses that have not obtained or have forgotten their TIN may visit the FIRS TIN Verification System to search for their TIN using their CAC Registration Number or Registered Phone Number. The corresponding business name and the assigned TIN and Tax Office will be displayed.
  • Register to file and remit Value Added Tax (VAT) and Withholding Tax (WHT) at the nearest FIRS office. (See the list of FIRS offices in the link below). Note that VAT and WHT returns must be filed not later than the 21st day of the month following the month of transactions. 
  • File your Companies Income Tax (CIT) returns not later than six months after the end of the accounting year or 18 months after the commencement of business, whichever comes first.
  • Register as a corporate entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) See Getting Started.

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Relevant institutions FIRS

Tax Clearance Certificate

A Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC) is a document that certifies that a company or individual has settled the income taxes due for the three preceding years of assessment. A TCC is a prerequisite for official transactions conducted by a company in the public sector, such as when tendering for government contracts, when remitting foreign exchange through the banks, etc.

Company TCCs are issued by the FIRS; while individual TCCs are issued by the relevant State Board Internal Revenue (SBIR). FIRS and Lagos SBIR issues TCC online (See link below). 

Companies need to apply to the relevant FIRS tax office to obtain a TCC.

Investment Incentives in Nigeria

Nigeria has various tax incentives designed to encourage investment in key sectors of the economy and reduce the cost of doing business. Tax based incentives are covered under different laws and in different forms e.g. reliefs, credits, exemptions, allowances, breaks/holidays, drawbacks, etc. Government also provides fiscal concessions through the annual fiscal policy. 

In order to facilitate access to these incentives, the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC) in collaboration with the Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) worked with relevant Government Agencies to compile the fiscal incentives and sector-wide fiscal concessions duly approved by the Federal Government and supported by legal instruments. The first edition is based on the 2016 Fiscal Policy and covers 5 sectors, which was published in October 2017. 

Find out more...

Relevant documents Compendium of Investment Incentives in Nigeria
Relevant institutions NIPC FIRS FMF

Pioneer Status

Under Industrial Development (Income Tax) Relieve Act (IDITRA), companies engaged in industries/products approved as ‘pioneer industries/products’ shall be

(a)  granted income tax relief for a period of three years, which can be extended for a period of one year and thereafter another one year, or for one period of two years (Section 10(2)(a)(b) IDITRA);

(b)  exempted from paying tax on dividends paid by the pioneer company during the pioneer period to the extent that they are paid out of income exempted from tax (Section 17(3) IDITRA); and

(c) any loss incurred during the tax relief period also deemed to be incurred on the first day following the expiration of the tax relief period and can be carried forward to offset profits after the tax-exempt period.

In addition to this, dividends paid out of pioneer profits are not subject to withholding tax.The updated list of industries /products which qualify for pioneer status can be obtained from the NIPC website

What Investors Think

Investors are positive about the tax incentives being offered by the government. However, they believe the implementation of the tax policy can be improved to ensure that more people and businesses pay their taxes.

Legal Framework

The Nigerian legal system is composed of the English Common Law, Nigerian customary law, and Islamic Law. Business transactions are governed by the Common Law, as modified by statutes to meet local demands and conditions.

  • The Supreme Court is the highest court in the land with original and appellate jurisdiction in certain constitutional, civil and criminal matters prescribed in the Constitution.
  • The Court of Appeal hears appeals from the National Industrial Court, Federal and State High Courts, Sharia Courts of Appeal and Customary Courts of Appeal.
  • The Federal High Court has jurisdiction in matters connected with the revenue, admiralty, banking, foreign exchange and other currency and monetary or fiscal matters.
  • The State High Court has jurisdiction to hear and determine both civil and criminal proceedings.
  • The National Industrial Court has jurisdiction in labour and industrial relations matters.
  • Sharia and Customary Courts of Appeal exercise jurisdiction in civil proceedings involving Sharia and customary law respectively.
  • Magistrates’ Courts, District Courts, Area Courts and Customary Courts all have original jurisdiction in civil and criminal matters.

Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act

This Act established the NIPC as an investment promotion agency of the Government. NIPC is responsible for registering foreign investments in Nigeria, as well as liaising between investors and government, institutional lenders and other organisations concerned with investments.

The NIPC Act has removed the ceiling on foreign investment in Nigerian companies and introduced several positive changes such as:

  • foreign portfolio investment in Nigerian-quoted companies through the NSE;
  • enlargement of the modes of payment for foreign equity to include spare parts, raw materials and other business assets acquired without initial disbursement of foreign exchange from Nigeria;
  • remittance of dividends and interest by guaranteeing to foreigners, the unrestricted transferability of dividends or profits (net of taxes) attributable to foreign investment in Nigeria, and capital repatriation in the event of liquidation. All that a foreign investor needs to do is to instruct an authorised dealer in foreign exchange to transfer the related funds in a defined currency on submission of the prescribed documents; and
  • procurement and repayment of foreign loans and interest thereon by Nigerian companies without prior ministerial approval.

Find out more...

Relevant documents NIPC Act
Relevant institutions NIPC

Investment & Securities Act (ISA)

The Investment and Securities Act 2007 contains comprehensive provisions on matters relating to securities and investments in Nigeria. The Act regulates mergers, acquisitions and other forms of business combination, securities transactions, including electronic transfer of registered shares, capital market operations in all their ramifications, borrowing by States, Local Government, other Government agencies and business entities, etc.

ISA provides for the establishment of:

  • Individual Investor Protection Funds (IPF) by securities exchanges and capital trade points, to compensate investors who suffer pecuniary loss from any defalcation committed by a member of a stock exchange and any directors/employees of capital market operators;
  • A nationwide scheme to compensate investors whose losses are not covered under the IPFs administered by securities exchanges and capital trade points;
  • An Investment and Securities Tribunal to settle any dispute arising from the operators of capital trade points and exchanges in Nigeria.

Investment Protection


The NIPC Act of 1995 forbids nationalization or expropriation of a business or assets unless the acquisition is in the national interest or for a public purpose. In such cases, investors are entitled to fair compensation and legal redress.

Specifically, Section 25 of the Act provides that:

1.  Subject to subsections (2) and (3) of this section-

  • No enterprise shall be nationalized or expropriated by any Government of the Federation;
  • No person who owns, whether wholly or in part, the capital of any enterprise shall be compelled by law to surrender his interest in the capital to any other person.

2.  There shall be no acquisition of an enterprise to which this Act applies by the Federal Government, unless the acquisition is in the national interest or for a public purpose and under a law which makes provision for-

  • Payment of fair and adequate compensation; and
  • A right of access to the courts for the determination of the investor's interest or right and the amount of compensation to which he is entitled.
3.  Any compensation payable under this section shall be paid without undue delay, and authorisation for its repatriation in convertible currency

shall where applicable, be issued.

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Relevant documents NIPC Act
Relevant institutions NIPC

Dispute settlement

Section 26 of the NIPC Act seeks to ensure the amicable settlement of disputes between investors and the government. However, where such is not successful, arbitration serves as the main alternative resolution mechanism.

The Arbitration and Conciliation Act of 1990 provides a unified legal framework for the fair and efficient settlement of commercial disputes by arbitration and conciliation. It also makes applicable the Convention on the Recognition and Enforcement of Arbitral Awards (New York Convention) to any award made in Nigeria arising out of international commercial arbitration. The Act allows parties to challenge arbitrators, provides that an arbitration tribunal shall ensure that the parties receive equal treatment, and ensures that each party has full opportunity to present its case.

Litigation is also a method of dispute resolution. Nigeria's civil courts handle disputes between foreign investors and the government as well as between foreign investors and Nigerian businesses. Nigerian law allows the enforcement of foreign judgments after proper hearings in Nigerian courts. However, where there is disagreement between the investor and the Federal Government as to the method of dispute settlement to be adopted, the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Dispute (ICSID) Rules shall apply.

Nigeria is a member of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law and a signatory to ICSID and the 1958 Convention on Recognition and Enforcement of Foreign Arbitral Awards (New York Convention). 

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Relevant documents Arbitration and Conciliation Act 2004

International Investment Agreements

Nigeria has bilateral investment agreements with 31 countries; 15 of which are in force. The country also has Double Tax Treaties with 13 countries, and is a signatory to 21 Investment-related instruments.

Relevant Links  Nigeria’s International Investment Treaties

Double Taxation Agreement

The agreements make provisions for the elimination of double taxation with respect to taxes on income and capital gains. Section 41 CGTA provides that any arrangement set out in an order made under Section 38 PITA and Section 45 CITA so far as they provide (in whatever terms) for relief from tax chargeable in Nigeria on capital gains by virtue of this section, have effect in relation to CGT.

Partners: Belgium, Canada, China, Czech Republic, France, Italy (airline and shipping only), Pakistan, Phillipines, Romania, Slovak Republic, South Africa, The Netherlands, United Kingdom

Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement

An IPPA seeks reciprocal promotion and protection of investments by individuals and companies in the territories of participating States. An IPPA provides the baseline minimum protection for foreign investments.

Partners: China, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Korea Republic, Netherlands, Romania, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom.

ECOWAS Liberalization Scheme

ECOWAS Treaty is a multilateral agreement executed by 15 countries in West Africa to enhance and accelerate economic and social development in the region. Further to the Treaty, ECOWAS set up ETLS as an operational tool to promote and facilitate trade within the region.

This Scheme provides for:

(a) abolition of customs duties levied on imports and exports of goods produced and moving among member states; and

(b) abolition of non-tariff barriers among members states to facilitate free movement of goods and services across member states.

Partners: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo

Repatriation of Funds

The NIPC Act guarantees foreign investors the unrestricted transferability of proceeds from their investment in Nigeria and capital repatriation in the event of liquidation. Investments in form of share capital contribution or loans may be made in foreign currency but information on such transactions must be submitted to the CBN by the dealer (i.e. a Nigerian bank) within 24 hours in order to obtain a Certificate of Capital Importation (CCI).

Once the foreign investor has the CCI, the following can be repatriated without hindrance:

  • Dividends, Rent, Royalties, Profits (net of taxes) attributable to the investment. Dividend payments are subject to withholding tax at 10% as final tax (7.5% for qualifying recipients in a treaty country).
  • Payment of interest and capital on foreign loans. A tax clearance certificate is required to remit dividend and interest out of the country.
  • The remittance of proceeds (net of taxes) and other obligations in the event of a sale or liquidation of the enterprise or any interest attributable to the investment.

There is currently no ceiling on profits distributable as dividends, provided such distributions are from profits and not capital, and there are no reasonable grounds for believing that the company is or would be insolvent after the payment.

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Relevant documents Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act
Relevant institutions NIPC

Intellectual Property

The Nigerian Legal system strives to protect intellectual property through the Trade Marks Act, the Patents and Designs Act, and the Copyright Act.

Trademarks distinguish the goods or services of one enterprise from those of another. They are registrable at the Trade Marks Registry, Abuja. Registration of a trademark confers on the person registering it, a right to the exclusive use of that trademark for a period of seven (7) years, which may be renewed. The common remedies for trademark infringement include an injunction, award of damages, delivery up or destruction of the infringing goods.

Patents and designs relate to inventions. An invention can be patented if it is new, is capable of industrial application, or constitutes an improvement upon a patented invention. This must also be registered to be protected. A patent expires after twenty (20) years from the date of registration, while a design is effective in the first instance for five (5) years but renewable for two (2) consecutive periods of five (5) years each.

Copyright automatically applies to original creative works (such as literary, musical and artistic works, cinematograph films, sound recordings, and broadcasts) as soon as they are created. Copyright is valid for fifty (50) years in the case of broadcasts, sound recordings and cinematography, and seventy (70) years for literary, musical and artistic works. The Nigerian system enables people with skill and enterprise to produce and market goods and services in the fairest possible conditions, thereby facilitating trade.

The Nigerian Copyright Commission is responsible for the administration of all copyright matters. The remedies for the breach or an infringement of copyright are damages, injunction, accounting for profits, delivery or destruction as well as the conversion of rights.

Relevant Institutions:  Nigerian Copyright Commission

Trade Mark:

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Relevant documents Nigerian Copyright Act
Relevant institutions Nigerian Copyright Commission (NCC)

National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP)

NOTAP regulates the transfer of foreign technology and technical expertise to Nigerian companies. Any agreements involving the transfer of foreign technology to a Nigerian company must be registered with NOTAP as a pre-condition for obtaining foreign currency. Non-registration will frustrate transfer of any payments to be made outside Nigeria under the respective Agreement. Fees payable under the agreement (such as royalties, management fees, software licenses, etc.) must not exceed limits prescribed by the NOTAP and the CBN. The agreement must clearly specify the services to be provided or the features of the process or product being licensed.

Relevant Links  NOTAP Act

International IP Agreements

Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization (1967)

Link to WIPO website

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Relevant documents WIPO Convention

The Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property (1883) establishes industrial property protection rules regarding patents, marks, industrial designs, trade names, geographical indications and the repression of unfair competition. Its provisions include regulations regarding the national treatment, the right of priority and a number of common rules.

Link to WIPO website

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Relevant documents WIPO Paris Convention
Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works (1886) establishes minimum standards regarding the national protection of copyrights in signatory countries, and guarantees the application in these countries of the national copyright law to artistic works originating from another signatory country.

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Relevant documents WIPO Berne Convention

Competition law

National Assembly Complex Abuja, Nigeria

The Nigerian House of Assembly recently passed the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill 2017. The bill seeks to establish a Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and Tribunal to promote fair, efficient and competitive markets in Nigeria. It will also facilitate access to safe products by all citizens and protect the rights of all consumers in Nigeria.

Now awaiting the assent of the President, the bill which will affect all sectors of Nigeria’s economy, will also establish a National Administrative Framework for consumer protection, remove regulatory overlaps, create regulatory harmony between the Commission and other agencies involved in consumer protection and create a strict liability offense for common unfair trade practices.

Enabling Business Evironment

The Federal Government established the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC) in July 2016 to work progressively towards removing bureaucratic constraints to doing business in Nigeria and make the country a easier place to start and grow a business.

The Council is an inter-governmental and inter-ministerial chaired by His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, and comprises ten ministers, the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, representatives of the National Assembly, the Judiciary, and organized private sector.

The Council, in collaboration with the National Assembly, the Judiciary, the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), and the private sector have implemented over 100 reform initiatives through accelerated national action plans focused on ten (10) indicators, these reforms are aimed at reducing the challenges faced by SMEs while doing business.

These reforms implemented across various sectors of the economy and Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of government have seen Nigeria move up 24 places in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index 2018, from the 169th position on the 2017 ranking and 170th position on the 2016 ranking to 145 in the World Bank’s 2018 report.

In July 2017, the Council kicked off the sub-national Ease of Doing Business project with all States and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), with the primary aim of cascading the ease of doing business initiatives down to the sub-national level by engaging and collaborating with state governments to implement reform initiatives that would increasingly make their states more attractive to business.

The Enabling Business Environment Secretariat (EBES) assists the MDAs to implement the reform agenda of the Council. 

Please visit for more information.

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Relevant documents The Executive Order PEBEC Status Report
Relevant institutions PEBEC

What Investors Think

Investors are happy about the government’s commitment to reducing the cost of doing business as they believe this is already creating a more enabling environment for existing businesses to thrive, and new ones to emerge, thereby improving competition in the economy.

Some expressed concerns about the regulatory environment. They believe there are too many regulators, resulting in overlaps of their functions. There is nee for government to harmonise agendas of these agencies in order to strengthen their oversight functions.

Economy and Domestic Production

The Nigerian economy is the biggest economy in Sub-Saharan with a Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of US$405 billion in 2016; a year the economy contracted by 1.51%. The economy has since moved out of recession; and has expanded in the last three consecutive quarters of 2017; the third quarter growth rate of 1.4% was above the World Bank’s 1.2% projected growth rate for 2017. The economy ended the year with a growth rate of 0.86%.

Fiscal incentives in form of duty waivers, tax exemptions, tax holidays, rebate, accelerated capital allowances and many more are provided for companies that undertake manufacturing, agriculture, technology, innovation and export-related activities. The Naira (N) is used for day to day transactions with exchange transactions regulated by the Foreign Exchange Act 1995. Cross border transactions are allowed but with some level of restriction to protect the local currency, prevent funding of terrorism and curb money laundering.

Market Access

Nigeria is a member of the World Trade Organisation, and has recently ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) – a move welcomed by trade experts given Nigeria’s position as Africa’s largest economy. The TFA sets forth a series of measures for expeditiously moving goods across borders inspired by the best practices from around the world.

Regional and International Markets

Nigeria is a member of the following organisations and associations:

African Union: Nigeria is a founding member of the African Union (AU), formerly Organisation of African Unity (OAU), which was established in May 1963. The creation of the AU brings the dream of a common African currency, foreign policy, defence structure and economic programme closer to reality.

African Union Website

New Partnership for Africa’s Department (NEPAD): Nigeria is an active member of NEPAD (established by the AU) whose main objective is to give impetus to Africa’s development, by bridging existing gaps between Africa and the developed world.

NEPAD Website

ECOWAS: Nigeria is a founding member of the Economic Community of West African States, an economic union of 15 West African States established in May 1975 to facilitate trade in the region and to promote regional joint development efforts. In January 1990, ECOWAS commenced a Trade Liberalisation Scheme (TLS) aimed at the total elimination of customs duties and taxes of equivalent effect, removal of non-tariff barriers and the establishment of a Common External Tariff (CET) to protect goods produced in Member States.

ECOWAS Factsheet on Common External Tarrif

Commonwealth of Nations: Nigeria is a member of The Commonwealth, an intergovernmental association of 52 sovereign states that once made up the British Empire.

Commonwealth of Nations Website

Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries: OPEC is a permanent, inter-governmental organisation of fourteen oil-producing nations including Nigeria, which joined in 1971. OPEC seeks to co-ordinate and unify the petroleum policies of Member Countries, ensure the stabilisation of oil prices in order to secure efficient, economic and regular supply of petroleum to consumers, a steady income to producers and a fair return on capital to investors in the petroleum industry. A very active member of OPEC, Nigeria is the 13th largest producer of petroleum in the world, the 5th largest exporter and has the 10th largest proven reserves.

OPEC Website

Nigeria is also a member of the United Nations (UN) and plays an active role in its peace-keeping activities globally.


Agriculture Sector

Nigeria has some of the richest natural resources for agricultural production in the world: over 80 million hectares of arable land, of which only 40% is cultivated; 230 billion cubic meters of water; abundant and reliable rainfall in over two-thirds of its territory. Nigeria is the world’s largest producer of cassava, yams and cowpeas (beans); fourth largest producer of groundnut and cocoa; and Africa’s largest producer of tomatoes, besides several other crops.

Find out more...

Relevant documents Agriculture Promotion Policy (2016 – 2020)
Relevant institutions FMARD NIRSAL NIPC

Why Invest in the Nigerian Agriculture Sector

Agriculture is the country’s largest sector, contributing 22 percent of GDP. It is also the largest employer, providing livelihood for about 90 percent of the rural population. Despite the recent recession in the country, the agriculture sector sustained a positive momentum, eventually helping to lift the country out of recession. With its detachment from the negative effects of lower oil prices and illiquidity, agriculture is the most important and resilient sector in the Nigerian economy, attractive for the following reasons:

  • Hectares of arable land across 36 states. Each state has areas of comparative agricultural advantage with opportunities for processing and packaging commodities for consumption and export.
  • A US$7.76 billion opportunity in import substitution (15 percent of total import).
  • New Agricultural Promotion Policy is focused on agribusiness development and seeks to improve access to land, finance and markets, amongst other policy thrusts.
  • Processing opportunities for tomatoes, cassava, cocoa, corn, rice, vegetables and fruits.
  • 10 million hectares suitable for forestry plantation
  • Young dynamic population
  • Nigeria is advantageously located in the gulf of Guinea with direct freight access to America (North & South) and Europe, which have a combined GDP of over $43 trillion.
  • Africa’s largest market with extensive network of transport routes linking the country to neighbouring countries.


Nigeria is endowed with vast reserves of solid minerals, including precious and base minerals, industrial minerals, energy minerals and metals. Over 40 different types have been identified across the country, including gold, barite, bentonite, limestone, coal, bitumen, iron ore, barites, gemstones tantalite/columbite, lead/zinc, granite, marble, gypsum, talc, iron ore, lead, lithium, and silver. However, the Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD) has prioritised Coal, Bitumen, Limestone, Iron Ore, Barites, Gold and Lead/Zinc – for focused development, due to the commerciality of the estimated deposits and their capacity to accelerate overall economic growth through industrial linkages.

As part of the economic recovery plan, the Government prioritized the diversification of the country’s revenue base, and identified mining as one of the pivotal sectors. The MMSD issued a revised sector growth and development roadmap to address the key challenges and outline strategies for rapid development and utilization of key minerals and metals. One of the targets is to grow the sectors’ total contribution to Nigeria’s GDP to about 10% by 2026. The Government has launched a $83, 334, 000 (N30 billion) intervention fund to open up the sector to multinational companies. The fund will be used to promote exploration and research. Government is also open to negotiation with respect to the concession of the country’s railway infrastructure to boost evacuation.

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)

The National Information and Communication Technology Policy was developed by the Ministry of Communication Technology, in 2012 to help facilitate the transformation of Nigeria into a knowledge-based economy. The need to growth the BPO segment in Nigeria features within this policy document: “It is important… especially as Government continues to stimulate the creation of jobs – to urgently promote a conducive environment that will enable … firms to invest in and participate in the global BPO economy.”

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Relevant documents Economic-Recovery-Growth-Plan-2017-2020

Why Invest in the Nigerian BPO Industry

Key factors making the sector attractive include:

  • Revenue: India which accounts for 6 percent of the global BPO industry and 63 percent of all off-shore outsourcing earns more from this industry than Nigeria currently earns from oil.
  • Demographics: With the largest population on the continent (half of whom are below the age of 25) Nigeria has a dynamic, well-educated and English-speaking workforce.
  • Time zone: Nigeria’s time zone and cultural proximity to English-speaking outsourcing customers (in Europe, America, Middle East and Asia) combined with the large domestic BPO opportunities form key components of the value proposition.
  • Competitive labour cost: A key driver towards outsourcing offshore is a need for firms to seek cost arbitrage opportunities in the face of global competition. Nigeria’s modest wage costs enhance the attractiveness of investment opportunities.
  • World-class IT training institutes: Nigeria hosts world renowned Information Technology training institutes offering capacity building through classes and certification programmes.
  • Regional Economic Development: With increasing practice of taking operations beyond the major cities (e.g. Ilorin, Enugu, Ibadan, Abeokuta and Kano), BPO activity needs can readily be satisfied sub-nationally, thus accelerating regional economic development.
  • Creation of new businesses: Circa 80% of entrepreneurs ‘spin out’ from activities they are engaged in. BPO represents an excellent opportunity for Nigerian entrepreneurs and Micro along with SMEs to create BPO operation focusing on domestic and international customers.
  • Telecoms infrastructure: With over 150 million active phone lines, Nigeria is one of the largest and fastest growing telecom markets in Africa. Over 90 million people have internet access, and connectivity continues to improve. The mobile sector saw triple-digit growth rates five years in a row after competition was introduced.


Power Transmission

The Nigerian Power sector has undergone several reforms over the last decade yet it remains in need of significant investment as its utility-scale electricity generation capacity continues to fall short of meeting domestic demands. The goal is to increase power generation from fossil sources to 20,000MW by 2020 through private sector participation.

Electricity in Nigeria is generated either through gas or hydro (water) with gas contributing 75 percent of the country’s energy mix. While Nigeria is estimated to have over 160 trillion cubic feet in natural gas reserves, seventh largest in the world, the country produces less than 1 percent of its reserves – thus underscoring power generation’s dependency on the oil and gas sector given that gas supply and pricing remain key issues for industry operators… particularly generation companies.

To promote investor confidence, the World Bank, International Finance Corporation (IFC) and MIGA (Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency) provided credit support to the industry in the form of partial risk guarantees (PRGs) and partial credit guarantees (PCGs).  This included a PRG of $245 million to support the establishment of the Azura gas-fired power plant by Azura Power West Africa in Edo State synchronized with loans and hedging instruments up to $135 million with guarantees up to $659 million.

The Renewable Energy Programme

The Renewable Energy Programme is initiated by the Federal Ministry of Environment in fulfillment of the Federal Republic of Nigeria’s obligation to the United Nations Framework on Climate Change (UNFCC) and as part of African strategy on voluntary emission reduction. The programme is developed as mitigation tool by Nigeria in response to the UNFCCC Accord, which includes:

  • The commitments emission reduction targets and mitigation action by developing countries by 2020.
  • Short term fun ding for immediate action and long term financing.
  • Mechanisms to support technology transfer.

For more information on Renewable Programme 

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Relevant institutions FMPWH NERC NIPC

Why Invest in the Nigerian Power Sector

  • Import duty concessions and periodic tariff reviews by NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission)  tend to support the commercial viability of embedded power generation projects  and IPPs which are relatively new, face fewer legacy burdens and thus have lower collateral risk than PHCN  (Power Holding Company of Nigeria) plants.
  • Despite the constraints and inefficiencies, the power industry in Nigeria enjoys good margins at optimal capacity with grid-connected IPPs recording profit margins (over 15 percent).


Manufacturing grew by 10.32 percent in the third quarter of 2017, contributing 8.81 percent to Nigeria’s GDP. The largest manufacturing sub-sectors are agro-processing, comprising food, beverages and tobacco (45 per cent of total in 2015), light manufacturing, including textile and wood products (31 per cent), and resource processing, e.g., cement and basic metals (18 per cent). These sectors all enjoyed sustained growth in 2010-2015.

The government seeks to improve the performance and size of this sector by developing Special Economic Zones (SEZs) to provide dedicated infrastructure to support hub productivity and re-energize local industries.

Through the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP) which is designed to accelerate the build-up of industrial capacity, the government plans to improve access to credit and financial services, infrastructure and power supply thus reducing the input costs of manufacturers and increasing their overall competitiveness and profitability.

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Relevant institutions FMITI NIPC

Why Invest in the Nigerian Manufacturing Sector

The Nigeria manufacturing sector operates at minimum investment risk guaranteeing considerable return on investment. The industry is exposed to a huge local resource of trainable and affordable workforce, vibrant small and medium enterprises in various value chains, and most importantly, a large internal market with considerable purchasing power. Other reasons why you should invest in Nigeria manufacturing sector include:  

  • 100% ownership of equity irrespective of nationality
  • a robust financial sector fully in support of manufacturing activities
  • an emerging metallurgical industry
  • globally competitive fiscal incentives including five year tax holiday
  • unrestricted transferability of capital, profit, and dividend
  • investment adequately protected against expropriation and nationalization

Investment Opportunities

Investment opportunities abound in the following activities in the activities: 

  • Food and Beverages
  • Chemical and Pharmaceuticals
  • Domestic and industrial plastic, rubber and foam products
  • Basic metal, Iron, Steel and Metal fabrication
  • Pulp, paper/paper products, printing and Publishing
  • Electrical and Electronics products
  • Textile weaving, Apparel, Carpet, Leather/Leather footwear
  • Wood and Wood products including furniture
  • Non-metallic mineral product e.g Cement
  • Motor Vehicle and Miscellaneous assembly

New industries are emerging everyday and the economy is acquiring necessary skills and capacity in these new areas.

Oil & Gas

With a crude oil production capacity of 2.5 million barrels per day, Nigeria ranks as Africa's largest producer of oil and the sixth largest oil producing country in the world.

The country equally has the largest natural gas reserves in Africa, and ranks seventh in the world. It is eager to capitalize on this important resource after many years of flaring from oil fields. The country has attained an annual average production of about 2,000 Billion Standard Cubic Feet (BSCF) of Natural Gas; of which about 70% is utilized while 30% is still being flared annually.

Nigeria continues to attract major international oil companies (IOC), most of which are presently represented in Nigeria: Total, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Elf, Shell, ConocoPhillips and Eni. 

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Relevant institutions FMPR

Why Invest in the Nigerian Oil & Gas Industry

Nigeria has proven to be among the most investment–friendly nations for IOCs, not only because of the geological configuration of its terrain but the relative security of investments in the economy. Also government is putting in place a regulatory framework that would promote competition and ensure transparency in the industry. Other reasons to invest include:

  • abundant and growing reserves of crude oil and gas
  • effective regulatory framework that promotes private sector as engine of growth
  • partially-deregulated downstream sub-sector with determination to fully deregulate the sector
  • a win-win joint venture relationship between government and private companies in the upstream sub-sector
  • existence of Oil and Gas free trade zone for downstream manufacturing activities
  • high returns on investments
  • unhindered repatriation of profit, capital and dividends
  • investment protection against expropriation and nationalization
  • global competitive fiscal incentives.

Investment Opportunities

Investment opportunities in the Nigeria oil and gas industry had continued to grow steadily, and these opportunities are ranging from the upstream to downstream activities. These activities are:

  • Petroleum Exploration and Exploitation
  • Search for development of local substitute for such items as medium pressure valve, pumps, shallow drilling equipment, drilling mud, bits fittings and drilling cement etc.
  • Manufacturing of consumable materials in exploration such as explosives, detonators, steel castings and magnetic tapes etc
  • Other areas in the services sector of the upstream include: construction and installation, maintenance, pipelines, well services and transport support services
  • Domestics production and marketing of liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)
  • Petrochemical production
  • Establishment of small scale businesses to produce chemicals and solvents etc.

The enactment of the Nigeria Local Content Act as enhanced synergies between the host community and the IOCs, thereby resulting in significant new opportunities in the development of marginal fields, engineering and support services for oil and gas operations.


The Nigeria's transportation network is one of the best in Africa; featuring an extensive system of paved highways, railroads, airports, waterways and seaports. The sector contributes about 3% to the gross domestic product (GDP) annually. 

Towards facilitating private sector participation in infrastructure development and management in the economy, government established the Infrastructure Concession and Regulatory Commission (ICRC) to manage the selection, development, procurement, implementation and monitoring of Private Public Partnership (PPP) projects.

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Relevant documents Nigerian Economic Reform & Growth Plan
Relevant institutions FMPWH ICRC


Nigeria’s road network is unarguable the largest in West Africa and the second largest south of the Sahara; the national road network is currently estimated to be 194,200km of which 34,120km (17.6%) are federal roads, 30,500km (15.7%) state roads and 129,580km (66.7%) local and rural roads. However a huge proportion of this network is buckling under the strain of carrying up to 80% of passenger and freight traffic. 

Investment opportunities include:

  • construction and maintenance of paved roads through concessionary or any of the PPP models;
  • building of tolls infrastructure and collection of tolls for the use of the service facilities provided to help sustain the system;
  • provision of mass urban and rural transportation services – freight and passenger services;
  • service facilities at the terminals on both the highways and destinations;
  • central terminals in various urban and rural locations in the country with service facilities. 


The Nigerian railway network covers an approximate distance of 3,500km of narrow gauge lines connecting the south-western part of the country (Lagos) with the Northwest (Kano) and Northeast (Maiduguri). The network has been extended by a narrow gauge line between Onne and the Enugu-Port Harcourt line and a standard gauge line from Ajaokuta to Warri.

The Nigerian Railway Corporation (NRC) owns and operates country’s rail and rolling stock. There is on-going reform to allow private sector participation in virtually all activities in the industry.

Investment Opportunities in the activity include

  • construction and maintenance of standard gauge rail lines through concession or any of the PPP models;
  • provision of train transportation services - freight and passenger services.

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Relevant institutions NRC


Nigeria’s sea ports handle 68% of West Africa’s maritime trade. The main seaports in Nigeria are at Calabar, Port Harcourt, Lagos, Sapele, Onne, and Warri. The Nigerian Port Authority (NPA) regulates activities in the Ports. A number of activities have been slated for privatisation or while some are already under concession.

The country has an inland navigable waterway of about 3000km which transverse 20 of the 36 states presenting huge investment potential. The coastline is about 852 km. The Nigerian Inland Waterways Authority (NIWA) serves as the regulator of the activity. The Nigerian Coastal and Inland Shipping (Cabotage) Act of 2003 facilitate private participation in coastal and inland waterway transport services, and the construction and management of infrastructure to support the industry. 

Investment Opportunities:

  • port services management and operation;
  • liner services – foreign shipping companies can engage in the provision of Liner Services through joint sailing agreement with Nigerian shipping companies;
  • tramp services;
  • coastal and inland water transportation under cabotage law- government encourages joint venture in the ownership and operation of light vessels between ports, which must be fully registered in Nigeria;
  • terminal and jetty development;
  • ship acquisition and ship building fund/lifting of crude oil and gas;
  • towage and pilot services

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Relevant institutions NIMASA NIWA NPA


Airports and air navigational facilities constitute major infrastructure of the country’s transport sector; the country has a total of 19 airports and 62 airstrips distributed all over the country. Lagos, Abuja, Kano and Port Harcourt Airports are the four international airports and combined, they account for up to 90% of all passenger movements and aircraft movements.

The operation and management of most of the airport facilities are presently done through the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN). The National Airspace Management Agency (NAMA) is responsible for regulation, licensing, traffic control and navigational aids for aircrafts.

The active participation of the private sector in the industry as licensed operators, concessionaire or in PPP arrangement for the delivery and management of infrastructure and services continues to have huge impact in the transformation of the industry. A new National Aviation Policy has been approved to address safety issues in the industry.

Nigeria has developed an integrated master plan to transform the country’s aviation industry into air service hub of the West African region and creating agricultural products cargo terminals

Investment Opportunities: With the growing traffic numbers, significant investment is needed in:

  • the aviation infrastructure – maintenance hangers, communications and safety infrastructures,  airports and landing strips
  • air catering services
  • airline operations
  • establishment of modern aircraft training facilities

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Relevant institutions NCAA

National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan

NIIMP identifies investment required to bring infrastructure in Nigeria to desirable state. NIIMP’s key objective is to ensure coordinated approach to infrastructure development in Nigeria and help to integrate diverse infrastructure plans and projects across all sectors and regions in Nigeria.

In order to bridge the current infrastructure gap and reach desired optimal investment, NIIMP states that Nigeria must increase core infrastructure stock from 35-40% of GDP in 2012 to 70% by 2043. The NIIMP document indicates that about $127 billion is required over the next 5 years translating to an average of $25 billion per annum from 2014-2018 (“the 1st Operational Plan Period”).

Budgetary resources alone, currently standing at $9 -10 billion for capital expenditure per year, will be inadequate to meet Nigeria’s infrastructure requirements. At the Federal and States level, financing of infrastructure will also require private sector participation. During the 1st Operational Plan Period, Private sector investment requirement is projected to increase from 46% to 48% and Public Sector investment projected at 52% out of which only about 15% of public sector funding is projected to be from the government treasury leaving the balance of 85% to be sourced through the debt capital markets as well as the traditional lending market. 

National Integrated Infrastructure Masterplan 

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Relevant institutions FMBNP NIPC

What Investors Think

Investors are eager to see the government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan in action. They recognise the position of Nigeria as Africa’s largest market, and say that despite the challenges in the environment, Nigeria is still worth investing in, particularly because of its population, geographical location, and proximity to international markets.  However, they stressed the need for significant infrastructural improvement, which they consider as critical to the success of sectors prioritized for investment. 

Nigeria: An Investment Destination of Choice

The economy is endowed with great economic potentials and is expected to be one of the world’s top economies by 2050. A member of the MINT countries, and one of the next four largest emerging and developing economies after the BRIC countries. All these are clear attestation to the potentials inherent in the economy.

The economy possesses one of the largest internal markets in the world. With a growing population of over 193 million, the economy presents huge opportunity for market seeking investments. According to Global Retail Development Index, Nigeria’s retail sector made a national sale of over US$125 billion in 2016. This was made possible by a middle-class population that has grown by over 600% in the last few years, and now represents over 38% of the population of the country.

The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP); the national medium term economic plan for 2017 – 2020 has a vision for sustained inclusive growth that is anchored on:

i.  a stable macroeconomic environment

ii.  agriculture and food security

iii.  energy sufficiency (power and petroleum products)

iv.  improved transportation infrastructure

v.  industrialization focusing on small and medium scale enterprises

Overall, the Plan projects to grow the economy at an annual average of 4.62%. This is to be achieved by focusing on growth sectors - sectors that have consistently contributed significantly to the GDP and attracted investors interests, both domestic and foreign.

The commitment to improve the enabling environment has seen an improved ranking of the economy by the World Bank in the 2018 Doing Business Report. The economy achieved a 24 places upward movement to being ranked 145 out of 190 countries in the process recording positive change in seven out of the ten indicators. Efforts are on to ensure this trend is sustained to ensure the country makes top 100 ease of doing business ranking by 2020.

Please be assured that Nigeria is not just open for business, Nigeria is ready for business!

Why Invest in Nigeria?

Nigeria has been rated one of the top 10 improved economies by the World Bank for advancing 24 places in the Doing Business Index 2018. Through its Presidential Enabling Business Environment Committee (PEBEC), the country is actively improving its business environment to attract investors.So far, Nigeria has streamlined the business incorporation, tax payment and Visa-on-Arrival processes, improved access to credit, fast-tracked export procedures and eliminated manual baggage searches at its airports. The most populous nation in Africa is open for business, offering the following to investors:

Compelling Reasons to Invest in Nigeria

Young and Skilled Workforce Young and skilled workforce with 43% of the population under 15 years, improved labour productivity and over 1.8million new graduates every year
High urbanization rate & growing middle class High urbanization rate with 48% of the population in urban areas and 168mn people forecasted to live in big cities by 2030. Rising consumer spend projected to increase by $94bn in 2025
Vibrant financial systems Robust financial markets with 7 of the top 25 banks in Africa and the second largest Stock Exchange on the continent
Improving business conditions Implementation of a strategic plan to tackle short term macro-economic challenges. Active anti-corruption campaign and decline in casualties from security incidents.
Abundant land & natural resources 84million hectares of arable land, 9th largest gas reserves and 44 exploitable minerals in proven commercial quantities
Largest market in Africa Largest market in Africa with proximity to other west African markets. Land borders with Benin, Cameroon, Chad & Niger & 5 international airports
2nd biggest cluster of large companies 56 companies with revenues over $500mn and 2nd largest cluster of large companies in Africa
56 companies with revenues over $500mn and 2nd largest cluster of large companies in Africa Investor friendly climate with strong appetite to encourage private sector investments. Generous statutory incentives with 14 Free Trade Zones

Country data

Official name Federal Republic of Nigeria
Country area 923,768 square kilometres
Capital city Abuja
Population 193 million 2016 estimate
Administrative structure 36 States and 1 Federal Capital Territory
Local currency Naira
Official language(s) English
Other national language(s) Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba
GDP (USD) 457.13 billion 2016
GDP per capita (USD) 2,457.80 2016
Exchange rate (USD) 305.74 March 2018

Country map

Map of Nigeria showing the 36 States and FCT
last update on: 11/1/2019