Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses, State RegulationsAbbakin
To operate a business legally in Nigeria, every Nigerian and intending foreigner must be licensed to carry on businesses, including obtaining the Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses.
Irrespective of the location or nature of your business in Nigeria, you need these business permits. For example, a home business owner as well as an online business owner will need a license as this is similar to having a physical office location.
This article will discuss the key Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses required for both local and foreign participation in the Nigerian Business Environment, including the Nigerian residence permits or fresh quota if applicable in your situation.
Note, depending on the type of your business and its activities, you may need to be licensed at the local, state and federal government levels. This is because most states in Nigeria have different requirements for different business structures, and there could be different requirements at the municipal level like city of Lagos or FCT Abuja as well.
As a Nigerian business person or intending foreigner who want to invest in different Nigeria business economy or industry, below are some of the laws that may affect you.
The Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses
What is a Business License?
Business license is a permit issued by government agencies which allow individuals or companies to conduct business within the government’s geographical jurisdiction. Business license is the authorization to start a business or participate in a particular industry issued by the government or its local agencies where you resides.
A business permit is therefore a formal document that allows for the local operation of a business; especially operators with foreign interest. Most of the Nigerian business permits and licenses are issued by the Federal Ministry of Interior on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.
However there are other agencies of government that are saddled with similar responsibilities in their field. Some of these agencies may include the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Nigeria Immigration Service, and so one. Starting with the CAC, listed below are few of the requirements for obtaining Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses:
Requirements for Obtaining Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses
- Certificate of Incorporation of the applicant company;
- Copies of the Tax Clearance Certificate of the applicant company;
- Copies of the Memorandum and Articles of Association;
- CAC Forms CO2 and CO7
- Joint Venture/Partnership Agreement (where applicable).
- The shareholding of the Company.
Notwithstanding the above, there are several numbers of industry laws and regulations that are applicable to local and foreign business investments in Nigeria.
Laws and Regulations That May Affect Businesses in Nigeria:
- The Custom Duty Act
- Factory Act
- Health Care Act
- Trademark Act
- Nigerian Standard Organization Act
- Companies Income Tax Act
- Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Act
- The Nigeria Local Content Act
- Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy,
- Securities and Exchange Commission Act
- The Federal High Court Act, etc.
The federal and state ministries of industries are the custodians of all the laws and regulations governing investments in Nigeria as a country. The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and your local/state revenue agencies will also need to be notified of your business operations.
As you choose your business structure and decide on which area to invest, please understand that the state and industry you’re in may differ and it’s your duty to do the research and find out more about what is applicable to your environments and situations.
In addition to ensuring that your business entity is legally registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), you may also need specific business permits and licenses. For example, if your are a foreigner or just starting out, you may require the services of an attorney or business professional who will be able to help with further requirements and clarifications on Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses, such as those listed below.
Other Requirements for Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses.
- Information concerning particular labour laws,
- Illegal aliens,
- Temporary work permit
- Workplace safety rules,
- Expatriate quota
- Residence permit
- Certificate of capital importation (CCI)
- Filing employment and income tax returns,
- Building codes, contract holding
- Health department requirements,
- Environmental laws, etc.
For foreigners or non Nigerian companies; remember to register at the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC), a body set up by the Federal Government to promote and monitor foreign investments in Nigeria. The NIPC registration requires some documentations, such as data about of the company and the founders, tax fillings and banking details.
To employ foreign experts, Expatriate Quota are granted to a company registered in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission and not to individual employees. However, it is in your best interest to consult with professionals to determine which Nigerian business permits and licenses you will need to work or start your business in Nigeria; including the laws and regulations that will be applicable to you, where to go to apply for some of these various laws, etc.
If you’re visiting or coming into Nigeria to do business or work, you may need the complete detail about the Nigerian Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), the Nigerian visa, and issues pertaining to company registration in Nigeria.
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