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Legal Requirements for Starting a Business in Nigeria

Starting a business - cfamedia

Actually, it is important that you have a ready market for your products and enough money set aside as working capital, when starting a business.

There are, however, the legal requirements and consequent benefits you should not overlook, except if the business is an ‘in the moment’ type, without plans of continuity.

Businesses in Nigeria will, definitely need these legal requirements to operate smoothly;

Business Registration

In Nigeria, business registration done, with the Corporate Affairs Commission, (CAC), established by the Companies And Allied Matters Act.

Whether you are running a solo venture, or a billion-naira business, the benefits of registering your business, cannot get overemphasized.

Utibe Etim, a social entrepreneur, IT expert, and business developer explains some of the benefits;

Your business gets on record and takes on a unique identity, separate from others, including businesses that offer similar services as yours.

A registered business name helps build trust and reputation with customers and clients.

This holds, especially, for online-based businesses, where customers have to pay before goods are shipped to them.

You can get legal liability protection, when you register your business as a Limited Liability Company.

This means that you are a different entity from your company and will not get held personally responsible for certain accidents and other liabilities.

If you have plans of a business that would continue, even, when you are dead, or incapacitated, alongside having the right structure in place, registering your business would definitely help.

Registration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service, (FIRS)

This is part of the legal requirements for starting a business in Nigeria.

This registration is to enable your business pay tax, which is a part of the legal requirements for running a business in Nigeria.

After your registration with FIRS, the commission will issue your business three vital documents – Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC), Tax Identification Number, (TIN) and Value Added Tax, (VAT).

Trying to evade tax payments in Nigeria can be disastrous, as your business could get confiscated by the government, when caught.

There are, also, government organizations and companies that will demand evidence of your business tax clearance certificate, before entering into business with you.

Registration with the State and Local Government Tax Offices

Businesses with physical offices are legally required to get taxed, by the local government tax authority.

Avoiding this could pose serious problems for your business, so, as soon as possible, locate their office and get registered.

Businesses operating as digital companies, without physical offices, are exempted from paying this tax.

You should register your staff at the State Internal Revenue Service, for the Pay As You Earn, so, their taxes can get remitted there on a monthly basis.

You will get compelled to, also, pay an annual Business Premises fee, to the State Internal Revenue Service.

Obtaining a Business Permit

This is only applicable to businesses owned by foreigners in Nigeria.

The business permit grants a foreigner permission to operate a business in Nigeria and the document gets issued, by the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

A business that is partly owned, by a Nigerian citizen and partly by a foreigner, however, does not require this form of legal backing.

Export/Import Permit

This is dependent on the business sector your business falls within.

If your business imports pharmaceutical, or food products into Nigeria, a permit, or approval from the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control, (NAFDAC), is required.

So does your business require license, from the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC), if you are involved in telecommunication services.

The idea is to get your license, or permit, from relevant bodies.

While these may pose a long process, the benefits cannot be denied.

Regardless of the headache these would save you in the future, it, also, does boils down, to whether you want a business with continued presence, or something merely for the moment.


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