Nigeria is a country with a growing economy and a significant reliance on international trade. As such, the government has implemented various import regulations to ensure smooth and controlled movement of goods across its borders. Understanding these regulations is essential for anyone involved in importing goods into Nigeria.
Nigerian Customs Laws
The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is the government agency responsible for enforcing customs laws and regulations in the country. The customs and excise tariff in Nigeria is based on the Customs Cooperation Council Nomenclature (CCCN). Import duties can be either specific or ad valorem, depending on the nature of the commodity, and they are payable in Nigerian naira upon entry.
It is essential to note that import tariffs in Nigeria are non-preferential and apply equally to all countries outside the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). This means that there are no preferential trade agreements that would offer lower import duties to specific trading partners.
Additionally, Nigeria imposes a special duty on imported goods if the government believes that such goods are being dumped or unfairly subsidized. This measure is taken to protect established or potential domestic industries from unfair competition.
Import Taxes and Duties in Nigeria
Import taxes and duties are a significant aspect of Nigerian import regulations. Importers must be aware of the applicable rates to ensure proper cost calculation and compliance with the law. Duties paid on abandoned, re-exported, damaged, or destroyed goods may be eligible for a refund. However, a claim must be made before the goods leave customs custody. A destruction certificate from a customs officer is required to obtain a refund for goods that were subsequently destroyed. Duties paid on goods that have landed in another country and are supported by a customs certificate can also be refunded.
Documentation Requirements for Importing Goods into Nigeria
Importing goods into Nigeria requires the submission of certain essential documents. These documents are submitted through an e-Form “M” to an Authorized Dealer bank. The following documents should be attached to the e-Form “M”:
- Proforma Invoice
- Insurance Certificate
- Regulatory Certificate/Permits from relevant government agencies (e.g., NAFDAC, SONCAP Pharmaceutical Board of Nigeria, etc.)
- Any additional documents prescribed by relevant government agencies
The original copies of these documents should be submitted to the processing bank before validation. The Authorized Dealer bank is responsible for conducting a thorough Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process to ensure the authenticity of the provided documents. Once the e-Form “M” is completed and the attached documents are verified, the bank transmits it to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
Procedure for Clearing Imported Goods in Nigeria
The customs clearance process in Nigeria involves obtaining a Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) issued by the bank that issued the Form M. The following documents are submitted for PAAR issuance:
- Form M
- Original Bill of Lading
- Packing List
- Proforma invoice or commercial invoice
- CCVO (Combine Certificate for Value and Origin) for the imported goods
- Certificates issued by agencies like NAFDAC, SON (SONCAP)
- Letterheaded application for value and PAAR
These documents are sent to the bank headquarters through a local courier company, and importers are advised to closely monitor the process through their bank account officers to address any potential discrepancies. The duration of the process can vary depending on the type of imported goods.
Dispute Resolution in Nigerian Import Regulations
Disputes may arise between importers and the Nigerian Customs Service over various issues, such as classification, valuation, or seized goods. In such cases, importers have the right to appeal the decision through a proper dispute resolution mechanism. This process involves filing a formal complaint with the appropriate customs authority, and if necessary, seeking judicial review through the courts.
Navigating import regulations in Nigeria is crucial for businesses engaged in international trade. Understanding Nigerian customs laws, import taxes and duties, documentation requirements, and the clearing procedure is essential to ensure compliance and avoid unnecessary delays or penalties.