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    Document Required When Shipping Goods to Nigeria- Guide to Importation
    Updated On: 25 Mar 2023 | 2,441 Views

    Document Required When Shipping Goods to Nigeria- Guide to Importation

    One of such few questions you want to ask yourself when going into International trade is "how to ship".. This question will lead you to many other questions, like requirement to ship and who and who you need to relate with in order to have detailed understanding of how to ship your goods to Nigeria and / or to other countries.

    Shipping documentation is key to the success of every importation into Nigeria. The time and knowledge required to prepare shipping document may be demanding and most times frustrating, yet it is advised that importers invest enough time to understand the basic shipping documentation requirements needed to ship goods to Nigeria. The secret of successful shipping is connected to proper shipping documentation. 

    Again, you ask! How to ship goods to Nigeria? Depending on the nature of the import there are shipping documents that importers need to familiarize with their processing requirements and / or procedures to obtain them. These shipping requirements and documents are statutory for local and international government agencies. 

    To this guide, we are going to focus on shipping documentation, specifically on the Form M and the steps that are required to process one, viz-a viz participating trade facilitators.

    Listed below are participating agencies and bodies you will need to work with in order to successfully ship your goods to Nigeria. We will be discussion their processes, their responsibilities, and your roles as importers.

    Corporate Affairs Commission: The very first step for any person intending to import goods into Nigeria will be to register a company name with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC). At the completion, a Certificate of Incorporation/Registration number is issued (RC number).

    Federal Inland Revenue Service: The importer is expected to register his company with the Tax authority. The Federal Inland Revenue Services (FIRS). will then issue a Tax Identification Number (TIN), which will also be registered on the single window. This TIN number would allow the importer to access the Single Window for Trade.

    Authorized Dealer Bank: Authorized dealer Bank (your commercial Bank) plays a major role in trade facilitation. This is the Bank that will help you to process and submit the Form m to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS). At this stage, the NCS will determine the acceptance of the Form M or reject it for amendment. If form M is accepted, then the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) processing stage is guaranteed. 

    Nigeria Customs: Nigeria customs, through its PAAR office in Abuja are saddled with the responsibility of PAAR issuance, after final documents are arranged and submitted through ADB.

    Standard Regulators: There are several regulatory bodies saddled with the responsibilities of regulating imported goods into Nigeria. Without compliance to regulatory guidelines, shipping documentation cannot be completed and therefore shipping cannot take place except shipping that will end in queries and questions. 

    Inspection agency: Authorized inspection agency means an entity, accepted by the universal agreement to provide third party inspection services.  A pre-shipment inspection is a step taken by trade operators (buyers, suppliers, agencies) to inspect newly manufactured products before they are shipped for export/import. The purposes of a pre-shipment inspection are to: Check the quantity and quality of the merchandise.

    How to process Form M for a SON regulated Goods.

    For items regulated by SON, below are guideline for the openning of Form M:

    • The importer gets his Product certificate, (PC).

    • The importer activates the PC on the online single window for trade.

    • The importer opens a Form M on the Nigerian Trade Platform (Single Window System), attaching the required documents - e.g. the Insurance Certificate, the Proforma Invoice, the Product Certificate (where the item is regulated by SON) and submits it to the ADB.

    • The ADB reviews/validates the Form M and sends it to the NCS..

    • The NCS either accepts the Form M or rejects it if not properly completed or lacking some information and/or documents.

    • When the NCS accepts the Form M, the importer forwards a copy to his exporter.

    • The Exporter, will, in turn, contact Cotecna - the International Accreditation Firm (IAF) - with the Form M, the Final Invoice, the Bill of Lading/Airway Bill, and the packing list, for the issuance of the SONCAP Certificate.

    • The SONCAP Certificate is issued. The importer activates the SONCAP Certificate and applies for PAAR issuance on the Nigeria Single Window for Trade.

    • The PAAR is issued, and the importer commences the clearance of his goods.

    READ: 5 Simplest Way to Obtain Form M in Nigeria.

    Please Cotecna  us if you need assistance at any stage of the process, or if you need any further information.

    About the Author: Adetayo George-Adewoye is a freight broker and logistics professional. Adetayo introduced pre-shipment consulting services into the shipping industry in 2012. He has offered high-level consulting services to the medical / pharmaceutical sector, oil and gas multinationals, agricultural sector, Mining, and construction industry, manufacturer, and procurement experts. Adetayo George-Adewoye is an award winner in the field of logistics, a member of the Lagos Chamber of commerce and industry, lions club international and freight net logistics network.




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