Business entities in Nigeria

Business entities in Nigeria

Wholly foreign owned entities

    Nigeria's different business entity types setup requirements
  1. Foreign entrepreneurs interested in doing business in Nigeria can wholly own a limited liability company (LLC) with a minimum of 2 shareholders and 2 directors of any nationality. The minimum share capital is US$1 and the entire setup process can be completed within 6 weeks;
  2. Foreign corporations are unable to create a wholly foreign owned presence in the country by setting up a Nigeria branch office or Nigeria representative office. Nigeria’s companies law requires all foreign businesses desiring to do business in Nigeria to establish a company. None of these entities require Nigerian nationals to be involved as shareholders or resident directors;
  3. Free zone companies allow international entrepreneurs to import and export goods from the country with tax advantages on VAT and customs duties.

Private limited company

An LLC, referred to as the “Private limited company” in Nigeria, is the most common entity used for Nigeria company setup. As always, the company is a separate legal entity or person. In particular, a company is separate from its owners, shareholders, and the persons who run it, the directors.

Representative offices and branches

Nigeria does not permit the establishment of a representative office or branch by a foreign-incorporated entity. Section 75 of the Companies and Allied Matters Act requires the establishment of a local company.

Comparison of Nigeria entities

Summary at a glancePrivate company
Company incorporation costsUS$12,990
Subsequent annual costs (excl accounting and tax fee)US$2,890
How long to set the company up?5 weeks
How long to open company bank account?5 weeks
Issued share capital required0
Is doing business permitted?Yes
Allowed to sign sales contracts with Nigerian ClientsYes
Allowed to invoice Nigerian ClientsYes
Corporate tax payable in Nigeria30%
Corporate bank accountSCB
Can rent office premises in NigeriaYes
Tenancy agreement required before incorporation?Yes
Allowed to import raw materials?Yes
Allowed to export goods?Yes
Can the entity hire expatriate staff in Nigeria?Yes
Do you visit Nigeria for company incorporation?No
Resident director required?No
Resident shareholder required?No
Minimum number of directors2
Minimum number of shareholders2
Nigeria resident company secretaryYes
Tax registration certificate requiredYes
Individual shareholders allowedYes
Corporate shareholders allowedYes
Corporate director(s) allowedNo
Public register of shareholders and directorsYes
Nigerian employment visa feesUS$3,950
How long to get work permit approved3 months
Statutory audit requiredYes
Annual tax return to be submittedYes
Access to Nigeria double tax treatiesYes
Total company set up costsUS$19,400
Draft invoicedraft invoice for Nigeria

Contact us

For additional information on our company setup services in Nigeria, please email us at email@healyconsultants.com. Alternatively please contact our in-house country expert, Mr. Paavan Chhabra, directly:
client relationship officer - Paavan
Central bank of Nigeria Nigeria customs service (NCS) Financial services regulation coordinating committee (FSRCC) in Nigeria The lagos chamber of commerce and industry Federal ministry of finance in Nigeria