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Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses, State Regulations

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Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses

Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses, State Regulations

Date: Jan 19, 2019
Author: Abbakin 67 43 Comments

To operate businesses legally in Nigeria, every Nigerian and foreigner must be licensed to carry on businesses, including obtaining the Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses.

Irrespective of the nature and location of your business, you need the business permits. For example, a home business will need an online business license as this in same cases 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.

Note, depending on the type of business and its activities, you may need to be licensed at the local, state and federal government levels.

Most states in Nigeria have different requirements for different business structures, and there could be different requirements at the municipal level as well.

As a Nigerian business person or intending foreigner who want to invest in Nigeria business economy, 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 local government 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 who are saddled with similar responsibilities in their field. Some of the requirements for obtaining Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses are listed below to include:


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 business investments in Nigeria.


Laws and Regulations That May Affect Nigerian Businesses:

  • 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, etc.


The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and your local/state revenue agencies will also need to be notified of your business operations.

The federal and state ministries of industries are the custodians of all the laws and regulations governing investments in Nigeria as a country.

As you choose your business structure and decide on which area to invest, understand that the state and industry you’re in may differ and it’s your duty to do the research and find out 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.

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 for 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.


Read: Laws And Regulatory Agencies That Govern Foreign Investment In Nigeria


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 documentation, 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 with the Corporate Affairs Commission and not to individual employees.

It is in your best interest to consult with professionals to determine which laws or regulations will be applicable to you; what permits or licenses you will need to stay, work and start your business in Nigeria;

Including where to go to apply for some of these various laws.


Read: How to Register a Company in Nigeria: A Step by Step Guide


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    • Daniel Ibizugbe

      Good day,
      I based in Spain, planning to come back fully. Where can I obtain license to operate here in Nigeria.? Planning to build a cooking gas depot where I can liaise with gas turban and others. Your information will useful.


      • Abbakin

        Hi Dan
        Getting a licence to start a gas plant business in Nigeria is now easy with the ‘easy of doing business’ initiative. This is as simple as starting up other kind of small and medium size businesses, SMEs in Nigeria. All you have to consider is the industry and environmental requirements or safety standards.

    • Engr Steve

      hello please how can i obtain a license in Lagos state Nigeria for a small business like repair of electrical TV e t c and selling imported used once. how much it will cost to obtain the licens

      • Abbakin

        Steve all you need is to register your business with Corporate Affairs Commission and start doing your business. There is no special license you need sell your goods. Read our post on how to register a company in Nigeria.

    • Emmanuel Aiyetin

      Hello.please I run a cleaning company in lagos Nigeria. I have registered the company with CAC 6mouths ago. What should I do next??.
      Is they any cleaning association/body/institution or ministry, I need to sign into? Before we can start operation fully?

      • Abbakin

        Hello Emma! As a registered business, you can start your business right away. However, you may be required to pay for local government business premises levy if you have an office space. Cheers!

    • Amina Halilu

      If a foreigner is coming into Nigeria to set up a business Wat type of business license is needed ,and does one pay taxes on sales.
      Is there anything a business owner must do legally to form a cooperation

    • Tina Sowaribi

      Hello, I am about to start a scriptwriting (courses & sales)/entertainment business that I have already registered in CAC, but I think I need a license or permit to be able to train and also issue out certificates to students or trainees. Please how do I go about it?

      • Abbakin

        Hello Tina, usually; to be able to issue certifications on professional courses like accounting, medicine, education, consultancy or other related fields, you will be ask to provide a proof of qualification before your institute or academy will be approved by government. However, since you are just starting out, we advice that you can start the business first and see if its something that will payoff; and you will like to do going forward. As the business grow, you can go for the approval or get someone who is an expert in that industry as part of your team. With that position, you can be able to get this done. We hope this could help?

    • Tina Sowaribi

      Thanks, Abbakin. Your response was very helpful. Thanks.

    • Harmony Richard

      Hi, my mom is about to start a fast-food restaurant business in Porthacourt. I want to know in details the cost price for obtaining a business permit, licence and, how much it takes to register the business. Thanks in advance.

    • Uche

      Hi there,
      What kind of license/permit will I need to run an online home service business centering on health(nutrition and fitness programs) and education?

      • Abbakin

        Uche! For health and nutrition license, you will need your industry professional proficiency certificate to do that. E.g. registered pharmacists.

    • nonso

      Hi, Please do licenses like food permit, liquor license and hotel license have to be applied and obtained for; before or after the business commences?

      • Abbakin

        Hello Nonso, Its better to start your business first before going for these kind of licences. For hotel building permit or operations, please consult your local or state government urban planing secretariat for more information. Thanks.

    • Femi

      Please do i need an SON registration to conduct a cloud computing and ecommerce business in nigeria.

      September 5, 2018
      • Abbakin

        I don’t think so Femi. However, you can consult an expert in that area. Thanks

        September 5, 2018
    • David

      Please I want to start a transportation business in Nigeria Edo state I want to know the type of license that I need and the requirements

      September 13, 2018
      • Abbakin

        David, in addition of making sure you choose and registered the right legal structure for your kind of business, you will need to register with your local transport Unions and the Motor Vehicle Regulation and Licensing Agencies in Nigeria; including good insurance policy for your business. Kindly order for our Starting a Business 101 eBook for detailed information about how to secure the future of that kind of investment.

        September 15, 2018
    • Jacqueline

      Hi Abbakin..
      I am about starting a Residential cleaning business. how can I get a licence and permit ?
      thank you

      September 15, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Hello Jac. This will al depend in your location n Nigeria. Kindly send us a mail for more info. Cheers!

        September 15, 2018
    • Kikelomo

      Hi there,
      What kind of license/permit will I need to run an online home service business centering on clothes ,shoes ,bags ,do I need to visit any company and what are the things they will request for please am in Lagos and how do I know you have answered my question

      September 27, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Hello Kikelo. You can start your business right away without any permit for now. If you are going into eCommerce business, you may need a registered company to be able to register with your online payment gateway. You can always come back to this post for our replies. But we will send you an email as you demanded. Thank!

        September 28, 2018
    • Sajid Daud

      Hi there,
      My shipping company is in Pakistan and would love to open office in Nigeria for expansion of my business. I would appreciate if you please assist me further regarding formalities/procedures thanks.

      September 28, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Sojid kindly send us an email regarding how we could be of help to you. thanks.

        September 28, 2018
    • Jane Law

      If an SME wanted to come to Nigeria as part of their international expansion plan, which government institutions will they need to contact and will they be required to make any deals with the government?
      What is required in terms of licensing, permits etc?
      Please let me know anything else that is missing.


    • Collin

      In addition to cac and tax registration do i need any other specific business permit to operate a consulting company engaged in advising clients on investments strategies

      • Abbakin

        You need a certification form the industry in order to serve as a consultant. This will be verified before approval according to the CAC.

    • OLA DELE

      Good afternoon, i have registered my business name with CAC many years ago for General Event management, but recently i rented a shop for canteen still with that business name. do i still need a shop permit because some official keep coming to my shop to disturb my girl.
      also which other permit do i need to obtain to run my business smothly

    • Jonathan

      Good day. Plz I want to start up a marketing agency, the company is already registered. What license is needed to further my course sir? So that when my workers go out nobody will harras them. Thanks

      • Abbakin

        Jona you can consider adhering to the Nigeria labour laws since you are limited by shares.

        November 15, 2018
    • Mrs Iwalokun

      This is quite good, i want to start a guard service business that is providing guards for companies and individual. What are the license that i will need to get and how do i go about getting them meanwhile my company is registered with CAC

      • Abbakin

        Hello Iwalokun, this will depend on your area of specialization and how far you want to go. However, this line of business is better for someone who is or had worked with the force agencies.


      Hi, I am starting an ecommerce (general) company in Lagos but will expand into other states in Nigeria in the future, I’ve registered with CAC and I have my TIN number, please do what kind of permit do I need to run my business.

      December 15, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Congratulations Sureline for starting your new eCommerce business in Lagos. If you have the CAC certificate and FIR TIM number, then you may have only the local government levy to pay if you have a physical office location. For now, just concentrate on growing-up you business. Cheers!

        December 16, 2018
    • Magnitude autos

      Hello please where can I get a business license for importation and selling of cars. I.e import and export license.

      December 23, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Hello Magnitude Autos, you can visit the Nigeria Port Authority (NPA) and Nigeria Export Promotion Council for further information regarding Import and Export of goods in and out of Nigeria. Thanks.

        December 28, 2018
    • patrick

      Hi good day complements of the season . i am about to start a production bussiness pls what kind of permits do i need and how much to incure it

      December 26, 2018

      Hi am really interested in starting a standard DAY CARE in port harcourt but where do I go to for license and premit? Or rather what kind of permit do I need and how much will it cost me to do that.

      December 29, 2018
      • Abbakin

        Kaline! If you’re a medical practitioner who understands common first aid and hospitality, or a registered nurse for instance, then you have the certification to run a day care business. Other business permits or approvals may follow due to the nature of the business. Please consult a knowledgeable expert in this field for more information.

        December 30, 2018
    • McJatkom Global

      If I register my business name with CAC, will I get my certificate in three days? Thanks!

    • Martins

      Please,what license and registration do I need to operate multi-level marketing company just as GNLD in Nigeria.

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