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Your One Stop Source: TRADE GUIDELINE Click on the flag to search
Muslimtrade Network members
about Nigeria.

N  I  G  E  R  I  A 

1 - 1. General characteristics:
1 - 2. General information:
1 - 3. Legal framework of trade relations:

2 - 1. Main exported products (1995):
2 - 2. Main imported products (1995):
2 - 3. Trading partners (1996):

3 - 1. Imports regulations:
3 - 2. Exports regulations:
3 -3. Other formalities and documents:

4 - 1. Banking system:
4 - 2. Foreign exchange system:
4 - 3. Methods and means for international settlement:

5 - 1. Applicable duties and taxes:
5 - 2. Special provisions:

6 - 1. International transports:
6 - 2. Telecommunications:
6 - 3. Distribution system:



1 - 1. General characteristics: 

Official name: Republic Federal of Nigeria.
Area:  923770 km².
Population: 115.05 millions inhabitants (1996).
Density: 124 inhabitants per square kilometer.
Capital: Abuja.
Climate: Nigeria’s climate ranges by areas. Indeed, coastal areas of the South are hot and humid with rainy season from March to November. While dry season, harmattan wind blows from the Sahara. The rainy season starts to the North from April to September. Temperatures range between 13°C to 40°C. However in the coastal areas, rains begin earlier than April and continue into October and beyond.
Main holidays: January 1st, March 8th, March 28th, May 1st, October 1st, (Independence day), December 25th, December 26th, Easter Monday*, Good Friday*, Eid-ul-Fitr*, Eid-ul-and Mouloud*. (*) Variable dates.
Weekly day off: Saturday p.m. - Sunday.

1 - 2. General information:  

Language: English is the official language.
Currency: Naira (N). 1 US$ = 21.88 N (1996).
Local time: GMT + 1.
Working hours: Business Monday - Friday From 8H to 12H30 and from 14H to 16H 


Establishments: Monday - Friday From 8H to 13H30., Saturday From 8H to 16H30 

Government offices: Monday - Friday From 7H30 to 15H30 , Saturday From 8H30 to 13H (Some States) 

Banks: Monday From 8H to 15H , Tuesday - Friday From 8H to 13H30

1 - 3. Legal framework of trade relations: 

Nigeria is member of the following international organizations:

World Trade Organization (W.T.O); 
United Nations Organization (UN) and its main specialized institutions ; 
Organization of the Islamic Conference (O.I.C);  
Economic Community of West-African States (E.C.O.W.A.S); 
Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (O.P.E.C); 
Organization of African Unity; 

Nigeria is signatory to numerous regional and international co-operation agreements particularly the C.E.D.E.A.O.


2 - 1. Main exported products (1995): 

Crude oil and oil products; 
Oil residues; 
Skin and hides; 
Natural rubber and rubber. 

2 - 2. Main imported products (1995): 

Machinery and equipment; 
Manufactured goods; 
Foodstuffs and animals. 

2 - 3. Trading partners (1996): 

Main suppliers

Main customers

United States of America

United States of America

United Kingdom











3 - 1. Imports regulations: 

Some goods essential for human welfare and economic development are admitted duty-free. Non- Essential goods and luxury items are subject to the highest rate of duties.  

The products on the negative list are used vehicles and motorcycles more than eight years old from the date of the manufacture, buses, trucks and lorries more than 10 years, mineral water, soft drinks, beer and stout, maize and maize products, vegetable oils, fresh or preserved vegetables, meat and meat products, live or dead poultry (except a day old chicks and parent stock), eggs in the shell, fertilizer, bentonite and barytes, retreated and used tires, textile fabrics of all types, processed wood, furniture and furniture pieces, fluorescent lightbulbs and kaolin.

At import level the following documents are required:

Commercial invoice: four to six copies of the special form of Nigerian invoice are required. The invoice must be signed by the manufacturer, supplier or by exporter. Company stamps and facsimile signatures and not acceptable on the original invoice. The invoice must contain the full name and address of the manufacturer, supplier or exporter, full name of business and street address of importer, the importer’s order number, certificate of value by the manufacturer, supplier or exporter clearly indicating whether the exporter is the manufacturer or supplier of the goods and whether or not the exporter is any way connected with the importer, certificate of origin, specific description of the goods consigned, unit and total price of each type of goods on the invoice, cost of packing, freight and insurance, commissions, other charges and total price of all the goods on the invoice indicating clearly the FOB and CIF prices. Metric units must be used to designate weights and measures. Separate invoices must be completed for each model of vehicle in a consignment regardless of the number of the vehicles. Consular legalization of the invoice no longer is required.
Packing list : When the invoice does not show packing details, a packing list must be attached. The list should show the marks and the numbers, weight (gross and net), and a careful description of the goods. Due to space limitations on the commercial invoice, it is advisable to use a separate packing list for details when necessary. 

In addition, a packing list certified by the producer, manufacturer, supplier, or exporter must accompany goods imported in a container.

Pro forma invoice: Four copies of a pro forma invoice are required for submission to the central bank for foreign exchange purposes. The pro forma invoice must show FOB price, freight, and all ancillary charges such as commission and the interests’ charges separately. 
Bill of lading: No special bill of lading form is required. Shipping marks and numbers on the bill of lading must correspond exactly with those of the invoices and on the goods. 

A "notify address" at the port of entry should be given on the bill of lading or on the airway bill especially for goods entering via Lagos. 

Exporters should check with their importers to determine whether an additional copy of the bill of lading is required for exchange control purposes. 

The airway bill replaces the bill of lading on air cargo shipments.

3 - 2. Exports regulations:  

The following specific documents are required for exports to Nigeria.

Sanitary certificate: A sanitary certificate is required for the imports of certain animals, animal products, meat and meat products, plants , seeds, soils, and used merchandise.
In many cases special import permits guaranteed by appropriate Nigerian agencies are required for the import of the above mentioned commodities.
Disinfecting certificate: a disinfecting certificate meeting the requirements of the Nigerian Ministry of Health must accompany imports of used clothing. 
Free sale certificate: The imports of food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides must be accompanied by certificates of free sale stating that the commodities in question are in free circulation in the country of Export. 
Certificate of analysis: A certificate of analysis is required for the imports of food, drugs, cosmetics and pesticides from the manufacturer and the country where the goods were manufactured.

Goods imported in containers: Goods imported in containers must be homogeneous. Any container carrying goods must be accompanied by a packing list certified by the producer, manufacturer, supplier or exporter showing all items imported in the container. Any container carrying more than one type of goods may be examined by officials.

Pre-shipment inspection: Imports to Nigeria, regardless of volume and whether containerized or non-containerized are subject to mandatory pre-shipment inspection to verify the price, the quantity and the quality of the merchandise. The physical inspection is intended to determine whether goods conform to contractual requirements. The Nigerian government will send a completed, modified Form M and a copy of the pro forma invoice to the inspection agency. Upon receipt of these documents, the inspection agency will contact the seller to request additional information about the shipment and to arrange for inspection of the goods, however the seller bears the ultimate responsibility for seeing that goods are inspected.
Shipping restrictions: The owner or agent of every ship intending to enter any Nigerian port is required to supply certain information concerning the ship and its movements to the Nigerian Port Authority at least two months before departure of the ship for Nigeria. Ships entering Nigerian ports are required to pay fifty percent of the customs duties payable on the cargo to be unloaded before they will be allowed to berth. 

3 -3. Other formalities and documents:  

Samples of value may be imported duty-free by businessmen upon payment of a bond or of a deposit of the import duty leviable on such goods. The bond is cancelled and / or the deposit refunded when the samples are re-exported. 

The Board of Customs and Excise is authorized to permit temporary importation, without payment of duty, of mention picture films intended for advertising, educational and scientific purposes or for exhibition at international fairs, trade shows and similar events. Catalogues and similar printed matters are allowed duty-free entry.

Standards and provisions

Nigeria is a member of the African Regional Organization for Standardization; an intergovernmental body designed to harmonize standards of member states and to promote standardization in Africa. Additional information concerning ARSO is available from the Secretary General, African Regional Organization For Standardization, PO.BOX. 57363 Nairobi, Kenya. Tel: 254-224561. Fax: 254-2218792.

Food and drugs: the manufacture, sale and advertising of food, drugs and cosmetics are regulated by decree. Certain drugs are prohibited importation into Nigeria and some permitted imports require special certificate. All pharmaceuticals and drugs for sale in Nigeria must be registered in accordance with regulations issued by the Ministry of Health.

Labeling: Pre-packaged goods sold in or imported into Nigeria require exclusive metric units for content marking. All imports with dual labeling in metric and non-metric units will be confiscated or refused entry.
Marking: There are no general marking regulations, but packages should be marked according to sound shipping practices, with the consignee’s mark, including port marks and they should be numbered to correspond with the number of packages shown on the invoice.
Packing: No special regulations applied to packing; however, goods packed in straw will not be admitted because materials, such as straw, originating from small cereals are prohibited importation. Parcels should be packed securely and should have waterproof covers to guard against the elements, pilferage and rough handling.


4 - 1. Banking system:  

The Central Bank of Nigeria is a Government financial institution that acts as banker’s bank, issues Treasury bills, fixes bank rates, supervise all monetary and fiduciary operations and engages in open market operations designed to check inflationary pressures in the country.  

Commercial banks both foreign and domestic play a vital role in the development of international trade by undertaking routine financial transactions and making available some foreign exchange to merchants and big traders. 

Besides, the banking system is made up of the Central Bank, Commercial Banks, Merchant Banks and Specialized Banks. In 1996 Nigeria numbered 80 Commercial Banks of which 60 national banks.

4 - 2. Foreign exchange system: 

The Ministry of Finance is responsible for basic exchange control policy. The Central Bank is the principal administrator of exchange controls. 

The foreign exchange system consists of an official rate used for government transactions and an autonomous rate used by private individuals, organizations and enterprises. Import of foreign currency is unlimited, but it must be declared on arrival; exports are limited to the amount declared. Imports and exports of local currency are restricted to N50 in notes. Penalties for black market transactions are severe.

American Express, Access/ MasterCard, Dinners Club and VISA are rarely accepted in Nigeria and because of the prevalence of credit cards fraud, their use is ill advised. Traveler's’ checks are accepted. 

4 - 3. Methods and means for international settlement: 

Importers may obtain foreign exchange through designated banks. Bureau de changes may engage in foreign exchange transactions but are limited to amounts equivalent to US$ 2,500 per transaction. 

All imports require that importers complete and submit modified Form M, in six copies, whether the importer is requesting foreign exchange or not. The modified Form M is valid for six months for most imports but may be extended for an additional year by authorized dealers. Form M is valid for one year initially when used for the imports of machinery, plants and equipment, and can be extended for a maximum validity period of 540 days. Importers may obtain this form from all offices of inspection agencies, local banks, branches of Nigerian banks overseas and their correspondent banks. 

Import payments must be made in cash or by letter of credit.


Nigerian customs use the Harmonized Commodity Description and Coding System (HS) for tariff classification purposes.

5 - 1. Applicable duties and taxes: 
Customs duties: In March 1995 Nigeria established a new tariff system which will be in effect until the year 2001. Import duties must be paid to specified banks in Nigerian currency using the autonomous rate of exchange quoted by the Central Bank the previous week.

The applicable duties and taxes are as follows: most duties are assessed on an ad valorem basis, with the indicated rates applicable to the following previously prohibited imports: Day -old chicks and parent stock at 5%, wheat and wheat products at 15%, rice and rice products at 50%, fruit juices and fresh and preserved fruit at 75%, and sparkling wine and champagne at 100%.

Specific duties: There are few specific duties based on weight, volume, unit or measure.
Ad valorem duties: Duties assessed on an ad valorem basis are levied on the CIF value of goods.

Import value for customs duty purposes is established on the basis of the import duty report issued by the agency conducting pre-shipment inspection of the goods. However, Customs, with the permission of the Ministry of Finance, may assess additional duties if the amount of the IDR is found to be incorrect. 

The following discounts are not allowed as deductions from the value of imported goods: sample discount, pattern discount, discount given for a special consideration, agency discount, contingency discount, contingent freight rebate, unspecified discount and buying commission.

On the other hand, the following discounts are allowed: trade discount, quantity discount if freely available, cash discount if freely available, quality discount, bank commission, Export commission and non-assembly discount for items imported in completely knocked-down condition for assembly locally.

Preferential duties: there are not any preferential duties in Nigeria but it is signatory to Lome Convention which provides for preferential entry of ACP goods into EU countries. In 1990 the ECOWAS countries reduced their intra-regional customs tariff by 25% for about 91 products. 
Customs surcharges and indirect taxes: All imports are subject to an administrative charge of 1% of the FOB value. Excise taxes are assessed on cigarettes, sparkling wine and champagne at the rate of 40%. Imports are subject to value added tax at the rate of 5%.

5 - 2. Special provisions: 

Exempted items include medical and pharmaceutical supplies, basic food items, books, stationery, newspapers and products used exclusively for infants. The Ministry of Commerce and Tourism control trade operations. Import licenses have been abolished, and many items previously on the negative list may now be imported. Among these items are wheat and wheat products, rice and rice products, fresh or preserved fruit, fruit juices, sparkling wine and champagne and day-old chicks and parent stock.


6 - 1. International transports:  

Maritime transports: The main ports are in Lagos-Apapa, Tin Can near Lagos, Port Delta complex including Warri, Koko, Burutu and Sapele ports; Port Harcourt. Bonny and Burutu are the main petroleum ports.

Sea services to Lagos, Port Harcourt and Calabar sail from London, Liverpool and other European ports. Ferry services operate along the south coasts and along the Niger and Benue Rivers. 

Air transports: Nigeria’s national airlines are called Nigeria Airways (WT). The main international airports are located in Abuja, Lagos, Kano, Port Harcourt and Calabar. The main international airports are: Lagos (LOS) or Murtala Muhammad are 22 km north of the city, Kano (KAN) 8 km north of Kano, Abuja (ABV) is 35 km from the city.

In addition to international transports Nigeria airways links the large cities such as Lagos, Ibadan, Benin City, Port Harcourt, Enugu, Calabar, Kaduna, Kano, Jos, Sokoto, Maiduguri, and Yola. 

Besides, charter facilities are available in Lagos from Aero Contractors, PanAfrican Airlines and Delta Air charter. 

Land transports

Railways: The two main roads are from Lagos to Kano via Ibadan- Oyo-Ogbombosho-Kaduna-Zana and from Port Harcourt to Maiduguri via Aba Enugu-Makurdi and Jos. 

Road networks: The road network links the large cities. Besides, there are roads that links Nigeria to Benin, Niger, Chad and Cameroun. The main road goes through Benin via the Idokoro border point along the good coast road to Lagos.

6 - 2. Telecommunications: 

Telephone, telex and telegram services are available in Nigeria through the Nigerian Telecommunications Company (NITEL).

6 - 3. Distribution system: 

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation and has the largest domestic market in Sub-Saharan Africa. There are three major urban areas in Nigeria: Lagos-Ibadan commercial and manufacturing area to the south-west, the Port Harcourt oil-producing area to the south-east and the Kano-Kaduna area in the northern agricultural belt. The latter enables the Export of agricultural products to the neighboring countries. Ibadan in the heart of cocoa producing region and serves as the most important distribution Centre in the western portion of the country.

Distributors in Nigeria may be divided roughly into three categories: large trading conglomerates; Nigerian, Lebanese and Indian firms; and the petty traders. 

Trading conglomerates are the recommended distributors for products requiring technical servicing and adequate supply of spare parts, and a large financial commitment. Several of these companies, which also have department stores, offer the only nation-wide distribution network. 

The Nigerian, Lebanese and Indian firms tend to serve individual regions. These distributors are frequently more dynamic than the large trading companies.

The petty traders, generally markets less sophisticated consumer goods and tools. Many of these traders which are financed inadequately, lack managerial skills, and cover only a small marketing area.





Federal Ministry of Commerce and Tourism. Trade Info & Complaints Division Old Secretariat Complex. P.M.B.88, Grace Abuja Tel : (2349) 2341792 

Telex: 91527 fed trad au ng 

Fax : (2349) 2342775
The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture. Trade Investment Promotion. 15A, Ikorordu Road, Maryland Lagos Tel : (2341) 4964727 

Fax : (2341) 4964737
Nigerian Export Promotion Council Headquarters. Trade Info and Incentives Dept. Kumba Street, Wuse District P.M.B. 133 Garki Abuja. Tel : (2349) 5230981 

Telex : 71510 Export ng 

Fax : (2349) 5230931
National Association of Nigeria Women in Business. Trade Commerce Manufacturing. 12, Lafia Road P.O.Box. 1756 Kaduna. Tel : (23462) 216558
Central Bank of Nigeria  Tinubu Square P.O.Box. 12194 Lagos Tel : (2341)660100 

Telex : 21360 cebank