Import Guidelines for Fasttrack Operations in Nigeria: Everything you should know

If you are wondering what the import guidelines are for transporting your goods into Nigeria or seeking an updated version of what the guidelines are, you’ve come to the right place. This piece aims to enlighten you on the import guidelines set by the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The Revised Import Guidelines, Procedures and Documentation Requirements under the guidelines was issued in 2013 to improve the importation process at the Nigerian Ports. To provide clarity to certain provisions in the guidelines, the Federal Ministry of Finance recently issued an addendum to it. The addendum was effective from 1 January 2018.

17 Guidelines for Importing Your Good into Nigeria

1.  Any person intending to import physical goods into Nigeria shall in the first instance process e-Form ‘M’ through any Authorized Dealer Bank irrespective of the value and whether or not payment is involved.

2. The initial validity period of an approved e-Form ‘M’ for general merchandise shall be 180 days, which may be extended by another 180 days by the Authorized Dealer Bank. For capital goods, the initial validity of an approved e-Form ‘M’ shall be 365 days’ subject to a maximum extension of another 365 days. However, any subsequent request for revalidation of e-Form ‘M’ shall be forwarded to the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Central Bank of Nigeria, for consideration.

3. Supporting documents shall be clearly marked “VALID FOR FOREX” or “NOT VALID FOR FOREX” as appropriate i.e. whether foreign exchange remittance would be involved.

4. All applications for e-form ‘M’ for goods subject to Destination Inspection shall carry the “BA” code, while those exempted shall include “CB” in the prefix of the numbering system of the e-form ‘M’.  Payments for goods exempted from Destination Inspection, under the Scheme, would not be carried out in the Foreign Exchange Market, without a prior approval from the Central Bank of Nigeria.  The list of goods exempted from Destination Inspection shall be as approved by the Honorable Minister of Finance.

5. The e-Form ‘M’ and the relevant pro-forma invoice (which shall have a validity period of three months) shall carry a proper description of goods to be imported to facilitate price verification

6. e-Form ‘M’ shall be valid for importation only after registration by the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).  Consequently, Authorized Dealer Banks are to confirm registration of the e-Form ‘M’ before proceeding with other import processes.

7. Documents in respect of each import transaction shall carry the name of the product, country of origin, specifications, date of manufacture, batch or lot number, Standards to which the goods have been produced (e.g. NIS, British Standards PD. ISO, IES, Din, etc.).

8. All goods to be imported into the country shall be labeled in ENGLISH in addition to any other language of transaction; otherwise the goods shall be confiscated.

9. Where import items such as food, drinks, cosmetics, drugs, medical devices, chemicals, etc. are required for health or environmental reasons, they shall carry EXPIRY dates or the shelf life (minimum of half shelf life at the time of importation) and specify the active ingredients, where applicable.

10. Electrical appliances (fluorescent lamps, electric bulbs, electric irons and ties, etc.) shall carry information on life performance, while cables shall carry information on the ratings.

11. All electronic equipment and instruments shall carry Instructions Manual, Safety information and/or safety signs, A guaranty/warranty of at least six months.

12. Importation of products not properly labeled shall automatically qualify for seizure and destruction, without warning and subject to prosecution.

13. Any false or fraudulent misrepresentation of facts will result in impoundment/seizures.

14. All imports into the country shall be accompanied by the following documents:

a. Combined Certificate of Value and Origin (CCVO), which shall contain the following information.

i. e-Form ‘M’ No;

ii. Adequate description of goods;

iii. Port of destination. (the actual port shall be specified e.g. Tin-Can, Apapa, Kano, Onne, etc);

iv. Shipment identification, date of shipment, Country of Origin, Country of Supply.

b. Final/Commercial Invoice

c. Packing List.

d. Shipped/Clean on-Board Bill of Lading/Airway Bill/Railway Bill/Road Waybill.

e. Manufacturer’s Certificate of production, the Phytosanitary Certificate or Chemical Analysis Report, which shall state standards, where applicable, should be made available.

f.  Laboratory test certificates for chemicals, foods, beverages, pharmaceuticals, electrical appliances and other regulated products, where applicable.

15. The following procedures shall be adopted for payments:

i. Letters of Credit transactions: All negotiating documents and/or shipping documents (as may be applicable), must be routed from the Beneficiary/Supplier through his/her bank to the issuing bank. For the avoidance of doubt, on no account must a bank endorse or pay on documents that do not comply with the routing outlined above.

ii. For Bills for Collection transactions, documents must be routed to the issuing bank either directly from the supplier’s bank or through the offshore correspondence of the issuing bank.

iii. For ‘Not Valid’ for foreign exchange transactions, the supplier should forward the documents directly to the applicant bank that validates the e-Form ‘M’.

16. For transactions with Post Landing charges, a retention fee of 5-15% of the project cost as agreed between the importer and the overseas supplier shall be indicated on both the Contract Agreement and the Pro-forma invoice, which shall form part of the supporting documents for the registration of relevant e-Form ‘M’.  In addition,

i. The stated fees shall not be remitted until a satisfactory evaluation of the project has been undertaken by the Industrial Inspectorate Department of the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment.

ii. The Authorized Dealer Bank shall forward to the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (Industrial Inspectorate Department) and Trade and Exchange Department Central Bank of Nigeria, copies of the Contract Agreement and Pro-forma invoice(s) of such projects for monitoring purposes.

iii. The Nigeria Customs Service shall take cognizance of the value of shipment and Post Landing charges as would have been indicated on the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR).

iv. The Industrial Inspectorate Department, Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment shall thereafter carry out an evaluation of the project and advise the Central Bank of Nigeria, accordingly.

v. On receipt of the report of the evaluation from the Federal Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment (Industrial Inspectorate Department), the Central Bank of Nigeria shall advise NCS on the issuance of PAAR in respect of the retained value and the Authorized Dealer Bank advised to remit same to the beneficiary.

17.Buying Commission: The percentage of buying commission to be paid to agents or confirming house acting as intermediary between importers and exporters is subject to a maximum of 2% of the FoB value of the consignment, where applicable.

We at TGL are readily available to smoothen your journey with our swift logistics system. Our services cover logistics, commodities trading and providing EPC services in the energy sector and other related sectors. With a team of over 50 years’ combined experience in freight forwarding, out-country and in-country logistics, compliance/documentation, and core technology services and we are more than able to ensure that the logistics process(es) of your business stays afloat.

TGL is a Logistics Management Company whose vision is to redefine the concept of service delivery in the logistics business primarily in Nigeria and Africa.

TGL thrives on the following:

  • Price efficient and value driven logistics management
  • Distribution of your products both within and outside the country
  • Multimodal logistics solutions
  • Timely management of import/export documentation

With a team of over 50 years’ combined experience in freight forwarding, out-country and in-country logistics, compliance/documentation and core technology services, we bring to the table a firm promise to provide a reliable platform for end-to-end logistics solutions for B2B and B2C.


Phone Number: 0804 TGL DESK

Address: 68 Molade Okoya Thomas Street, Off Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos

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