Nigeria is a country that depends heavily on imported products. The majority of the goods Nigerians use are not manufactured in the country, hence, there is a heavy demand for the importation of these goods from outside the country. One of such goods regularly imported into Nigeria is automobiles.
Nigeria has a vast market for an imported cars-both brand new and fairly used. This has made the car importation business a thriving business for most Nigerians. While anyone can decide to go into car importation, you have to be authorized to fully engage in this business. This is why you need to obtain an import license!
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What Is Import Licence
Without an import licence, you won’t be able to bring your goods into the country. An import licence is an approval or authorization given by various agencies in Nigeria that regulates, monitors, controls and determines the goods and products imported into the country. There are various agencies commissioned by the government within Nigeria that have statutory rights to grant import licence. The goods you intend to import determine the organization you will obtain your import licence from.
Some Organizations That Issue Import License In Nigeria
- Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON)
The Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON) is the foremost agency concerned when it comes to issuing import licences for a wide range of products. The organization does this through its SONCAP Program(Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme). SON issues import licenses like Product Certificate/SONCAP, the Import Permit, SONCAP default, MANCAP, etc.
- National Agency for Food and Drugs Administration and Control (NAFDAC)
Products like Food products, Drugs, Chemicals, Medical products, Raw Materials, and other branded products exempted from registering with SONCAP are regulated by NAFDAC. Hence, anyone importing goods in this category will have to get their licence from NAFDAC.
- Nigerian Electrification Regulatory Commission (NERC)
Goods and products related to the power sector of Nigeria are regulated by the NERC. They issue permits to importers of power-related products.
- Nigeria Agricultural Quarantine Services (NAQS)
NAQS is regulated by the Ministry of Agriculture, and they are in charge of issuing import licenses for goods related to agricultural seeds, products, and animals into Nigeria.
- Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR)
The DPR issues import licenses and regulate the importation of petroleum resources into the country.
Steps To Obtain Import Licence
As mentioned earlier, anyone interested in car importation in Nigeria must get a license from the right regulatory agency to do so. Below is a quick guide on how to obtain an import license:
- You should register a company in Nigeria and obtain the certificate of incorporation from the Corporate Affairs Commission.
- Next, register your company with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
- Obtain the Tax Identification Number (TIN Number) for proof of tax payment. You should provide a valid email address when doing this.
- Open a bank account with a recognized bank in Nigeria to act as the Authorized Dealer Bank (ADB).
- The bank will issue a Form-M /PAAR. The Form-M/PAAR is a mandatory documentation required by the Federal Government through the Ministry of Finance and the Central Bank of Nigeria. This form is necessary to monitor, keep track of goods imported into the country and facilitate payment of import duties.
- Obtain the appropriate permit from regulatory agencies such as SONCAP (Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme), NAFDAC (National Agency for Food Drug and Administrative Control), DPR (Department of Petroleum Resources), NERC (Nigerian Electricity Regulatory Commission) and among other relevant regulatory agencies.
- Register as a client at the Nigeria Single Window Trade Portal. This portal is an intergovernmental site that encourages trade procedures between the government agencies and parties on the Federal Inland Revenue site.
How To Get A Soncap/Product Certificate To Import Cars
Importers of cars (both new and used) need to get their import licence from the Standard Organization of Nigeria, then they will be issued a SONCAP certificate. What you need to do is apply for SONCAP certification online through the COTECNA website.
There are three routes in the SONCAP certification process. These are;
- Route A (Verification of Conformity)
- For unregistered products and for infrequent exporters to Nigeria.
- Route B (Registration and Conformity Inspection)
- For regular shipments (i.e those who import frequently) and those with acceptable levels of compliance under Route A.
- Route C (Product Certification systems)
For regular shipments to Nigeria with an excellent level of compliance under Route B.
To be involved in the car importation business, you need to get the right import licence from the authorized government agency.
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