The Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses, State Regulations

Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses

The Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses, State Regulations

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.


Some Laws That May Affect Nigerian Businesses Includes:

  • 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.


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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Comments (32)

  • Daniel Ibizugbe Reply

    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.


    February 4, 2018 at 3:44 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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.

      February 4, 2018 at 11:05 pm
  • Engr Steve Reply

    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

    March 20, 2018 at 8:56 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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.

      March 24, 2018 at 1:30 pm
  • Emmanuel Aiyetin Reply

    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?

    May 31, 2018 at 12:34 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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!

      June 1, 2018 at 6:24 pm
  • Amina Halilu Reply

    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

    July 4, 2018 at 10:47 am
  • Tina Sowaribi Reply

    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?

    July 26, 2018 at 12:03 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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?

      July 26, 2018 at 6:36 pm
  • Tina Sowaribi Reply

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

    July 27, 2018 at 9:57 am
  • Harmony Richard Reply

    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.

    August 11, 2018 at 11:42 am
  • Uche Reply

    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?

    August 19, 2018 at 7:43 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      August 22, 2018 at 8:31 am
  • nonso Reply

    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?

    August 20, 2018 at 2:52 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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.

      August 22, 2018 at 8:18 am
  • Femi Reply

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

    September 5, 2018 at 2:58 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      September 5, 2018 at 4:21 pm
  • David Reply

    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 at 6:42 am
    • Abbakin Reply

      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 at 7:37 pm
  • Jacqueline Reply

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

    September 15, 2018 at 2:36 am
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      September 15, 2018 at 7:11 pm
  • Kikelomo Reply

    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 at 11:43 pm
    • Abbakin Reply

      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 at 9:37 am
  • Sajid Daud Reply

    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 at 10:55 am
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      September 28, 2018 at 12:13 pm
  • Jane Law Reply

    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.


    October 9, 2018 at 6:01 pm
  • Collin Reply

    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

    October 23, 2018 at 10:27 am
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      October 23, 2018 at 3:07 pm
  • OLA DELE Reply

    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

    November 1, 2018 at 1:30 pm
  • Jonathan Reply

    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

    November 8, 2018 at 5:12 am
    • Abbakin Reply

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

      November 15, 2018 at 2:17 pm

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