At Fathenso Professional Services, we help business owners and corporate entities in getting the business license required to operate a business in Nigeria. Get started on yours today in an efficient way.Business licenses are approvals given by the government or its agencies to individuals and corporate organisation to transact business in a particular location; it is also an authority issued by the local government to operate a business in a particular location.HOW TO OBTAIN A BUSINESS PERMIT IN NIGERIAWHAT IS BUSINESS LICENSE?Business license is a permit issued by government agencies which allows individual or companies to conduct business within government’s geographical jurisdiction. It is an authorization to start a business or participate in a particular industry issued by the government or it local agencies where you resides.Foreign-owned companies that intend to start and operate businesses in Nigeria either as an individually owned company or a subsidiary of a foreign company are required to obtain a business permit and business licenses where applicable.In Nigeria, A business permit is an approval given by the government, which authorizes the operation of a business by a foreigner or foreign entity in Nigeria. A business permit is issued through the Department of Citizenship and Business, Ministry of Interior to the foreign individual or organization. A business permit allows foreigners to commence business legally in Nigeria. However, it doesn’t remove the need for foreign individuals and employees to obtain a residential permit. Without the Combined Expatriate Residential Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC), a foreign individual cannot live in Nigeria and hence cannot work here. The residential permit is usually obtained simultaneously with the business permit since it is also issued by the Ministry of Interior in Nigeria. The focus of this article will however be on obtaining a business permit in Nigeria.From the above, it can be deduced that before an application for a business permit, a foreigner or foreign-owned companies must have incorporated a company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) before applying for a requisite business permit or license. Both business permits and the expatriate quota are usually applied for at the same time because apart from obtaining a business permit, any foreigner who intends to work in Nigeria can only do this through a company upon making an application for expatriate quota in Nigeria. A work permit, also known as Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC) will then be issued to such a foreigner.As a foreigner or foreign organization seeking to obtain a business permit in Nigeria, you must first register your business with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). The CAC is in charge of regulating the formation and incorporation of companies in Nigeria. Without registering with them, you do not have a legal business in Nigeria that you can obtain a business permit for. In registering with the CAC, as a foreign company or business, you must first have a minimum share capital of ten million naira (N10, 000,000). Here are other requirements needed in registering with the CAC.REQUIREMENTS TO OBTAIN BUSINESS PERMIT IN NIGERIAThe following documents are required to obtain a business permit:Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), is the body conferred with the power in law to grant the Business Permit and also to register companies with foreign investors and foreign participation.All applications to NIPC, for a BP (BUSINESS PERMIT), must be supported by the following document:Duly completed NIPC from 1;Memorandum and articles of association;Current Tax Clearance Certificate (TCC);Certificate of Incorporation; · Partnership/joint venture agreement (if applicable);Receipt issued on purchase of NIPC Form 1; · Project implementation programme;Certificate of capital importation; if available; · Evidence of acquisition of business/factory premises;Evidence of acquisition of operating equipment and machinery, such as motor vehicles, business machines, etc. (if any);Feasibility study report (for joint venture companies);Permit to operate in the oil industry (for oil service companies); andLetter of an award of contract (for construction companies).The prescribed fees shall be paid at every processing NIPC stipulated point.When you’re embroiled in the excitement of starting a new business, it’s easy to ignore the need for licenses and permits. Sure, getting licenses and permits is about as fun as visiting the dentist. But failing to do so-and doing it right from the beginning-is one of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make.

More often than not, business owners expect their license and business permit requirements to be simple and their certificates to be easily acquired. As for their renewal deadlines, they assume that those can be dealt with at a later date. However, the reality is not so simple—business owners are routinely fined, stores closed, and penalties levied for their lack of compliance.

This week we consider some important permits you may find necessary for doing business in Nigeria:

CAC REGISTRATIONRegistration of a business name or Incorporation of a Company is done with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) and is an important step to take in starting your business in Nigeria. Benefits of registering your company include:
  • It enhances your identity and adds credibility to your operation:
  • It attracts business and funding opportunities:
  • It makes the business real for you and keeps you focused:
  • It establishes your company as a separate financial entity:
  • It is hard to grow a business if you’re operating illegally.
Company registration in Nigeria

Businesses that are profit oriented are expected to pay tax. After the commencement of business, you should ensure you stay tax compliant by registering with the Inland Revenue. Examples of taxes typically payable by Companies are listed below:

  • Company Income Tax: Payable by Limited Liability Companies and computed from the profit of the Company in any given year
  • PAYE: This is Income Tax that is expected to be deducted from te salaries of staff and paid to the Internal Revenue. This tax is collected by State Inland Revenue
  • Value Added Tax: This is a consumption tax paid on all goods and services provided in or imported into Nigeria taxes and is currently 7.5%. You are expected to add this to the price of your good or service and remit to the government on a monthly basis.
Once a Company is fully compliant with its taxes it entitled to apply for a Tax Clearance Certificate which is document stating that an entity does not owe tax for a period of time specified in the certificate.

 One of the requirements for foreigners intending to do business in Nigeria is registration with the Nigerian Investment Promotion Council (NIPC)  and the benefits of registering with the NIPC are many for the investors, but the most important one is that the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission Act ensures that no foreign-owned enterprise or establishment shall be expropriated or nationalized by any government in Nigeria after the due registration with the NIPC.


Business permit is strictly for foreigners that want to conduct business in Nigeria and is issued by the Ministry of Interior as an authorization for a foreigner to start a business in Nigeria. Without a business permit, a foreigner must not carry on business in Nigeria. Apart from obtaining a business permit, every foreigner who seeking to work in Nigeria as a worker or control any business must only do so through a company that has an Expatriate Quota which is a form of approval granted to companies and registered firms to employ the services of expatriates with relevant competences. Once a Company issued with Expatriate Quota its foreign employees can then apply for a work permit also known as Combined Expatriate Residential Permit and Alien Card (CERPAC). It is your responsibility as business owner to apply for the expatriate quota if you intend to employ foreigners in your organization.


To carry out business in the oil and gas sector, permits and license from the Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) now known as (NUPRC) Nigerian Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission is required. There are different categories for registration under the Oil and Gas Industry Service Permit (OGISP) and they are listed below:

General category: This category covers works that does not require specialized or certified competence.Major Category: Under this category, applicants must possess relevant technical/special skills.Specialized category: Under specialized category, applicants must possess relevant and verifiable technical/special skills

There is a special license that has to be acquired from Central Bank of Nigeria for Company carrying out Financial Technology Services (Fintech companies) in order to start operating in Nigeria. This license depends on the type of Fintech company, there are 3 different categories.

Super License : This is required for Fintech companies that operate payment gateway platforms.Standard License :This is required for Fintech companies that operate as e-money issuers, wallet creation managers and agent recruiters.Basic License: This is required for Fintech companies that does point of sale deployment, payment processing gateways, portals and payment applications.NAFDAC PERMIT

Under Nigerian law, no processed food, drug, drug product, cosmetic, medical device or water can be manufactured, imported, exported, advertised, sold or distributed in Nigeria unless it has been registered with NAFDAC. Products are classified as Micro, Small, Large depending on the type of product and size of operations.

There are certain requirements which must be fulfilled before a regulated product can attain a registered status in Nigeria. In addition requirements for registration of local manufactured products is a bit different from imported goods.  It must be noted that a company producing different products must register each of them separately.

NAFDAC registration in Nigeria

The Nigerian Security and the Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) has the responsibility of licensing, monitoring and the supervision of private securities companies in Nigeria so as to ensure that those working within the industry are fit and proper persons who have received adequate vocational training for the role they perform. Until a license is granted by the NSDC, a private security company cannot begin operations and before any license can be granted by the NSCDC, the company must first be registered by the Corporate Affairs Commission.


The Ministry of Mines and Steel Development is responsible for issuing mining license and one of the types of licenses issued for exploitation of mineral resources is the Small Scale Mining Lease which allows the holder of the lease to conduct artisanal mining operations which does not include the extensive and continued use of explosives, toxic chemicals or agents on an area of land not less than 5 acres but not exceeding 3 square kilometers. The holder of a small scale mining lease is not allowed to employ more than 50 workers in a typical work day and not allowed to have underground workings more than 7 meters below surface nor galleries extending more than 10 meters from a shaft. Small scale mining lease is granted for a period of 5 (Five) years and may be renewed for further terms of 5 (Five) years and there is no limitation to the number of renewal.


A money lender Licence can be granted to a person or business whose sole business is lending money with the expectation of a higher amount in return. Money lender licenses are regulated by the various states money lending laws in Nigeria and is granted for a period of one-year term, (expires 31st of December ever year) and can be renewed. The provisions of the various States of Nigeria on Money Lending are basically the same and as such the requirements and procedure for obtaining a license share a lot of similarities in most States.

THE BOTTOM LINEEvery individual or corporate entity that intends to run a business in Nigeria without any hitch must ensure that it abides and complies with statutory requirements regarding business operations in Nigeria.

Although we’ve walked you through some important registrations and permits you need for your business, it is important to bear in mind that this list is by no means exhaustive. There are plenty of other business licenses you may want to consider, depending upon the sector you are operating and your location.

When in doubt, you can consult us at Kudi Konsult, to ensure that your company has obtained all of the applicable business licenses you’ll need to meet your legal obligations. That way, you’ll be able to spend less time worrying about compliance, and more time thinking about moving forward and achieving success.

To operate a business legally in Nigeria, every Nigerian and intending foreigner must be licensed to carry on businesses, including obtaining the Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses.

Irrespective of the location or nature of your business in Nigeria, you need these business permits. For example, a home business owner as well as an online business owner will need a license as this is similar to having a physical office location.

You will also need responsive website designs, social media marketing, corporate branding and search engine optimization strategies to grow your business, increase your online visibility and make more sales.

This article will discuss the key Nigerian Business Permits and Licenses required for both local and foreign participation in the Nigerian Business Environment, including the Nigerian residence permits or fresh quota if applicable in your situation.

Note, depending on the type of your business and its activities, you may need to be licensed at the local, state and federal government levels. This is because most states in Nigeria have different requirements for different business structures, and there could be different requirements at the municipal level like city of Lagos or FCT Abuja as well.

As a Nigerian business person or intending foreigner who want to invest in different Nigeria business economy or industry, 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 government or its local agencies 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 that are saddled with similar responsibilities in their field. Some of these agencies may include the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), the Nigeria Immigration Service, and so one. Starting with the CAC, listed below are few of the requirements for obtaining Nigeria Business Permits and Licenses:


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 local and foreign business investments in Nigeria.

Laws and Regulations That May Affect Businesses in Nigeria:

  • 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,
  • Securities and Exchange Commission Act
  • The Federal High Court Act, etc.

The federal and state ministries of industries are the custodians of all the laws and regulations governing investments in Nigeria as a country. The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS) and your local/state revenue agencies will also need to be notified of your business operations.

As you choose your business structure and decide on which area to invest, please understand that the state and industry you’re in may differ and it’s your duty to do the research and find out more about 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. For example, 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 and clarifications on 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 documentations, 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 in Nigeria with the Corporate Affairs Commission and not to individual employees. However, it is in your best interest to consult with professionals to determine which Nigerian business permits and licenses you will need to work or start your business in Nigeria; including the laws and regulations that will be applicable to you, where to go to apply for some of these various laws, etc.

If you’re visiting or coming into Nigeria to do business or work, you may need the complete detail about the Nigerian Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC), the Nigerian visa, and issues pertaining to company registration in Nigeria.