Category: Real Estate

Foreigners’ Guidelines For Doing Business in Nigeria



Requirements For Foreigners to Register a Business a Nigeria

    1. In Nigeria generally, a foreigner is allowed to fully own a company or own the same jointly with a Nigerian. However, a foreigner is not allowed to fully own a company or business enterprise on the “negative list”. Business enterprises on the negative list include production and/or dealing in arms, ammunition, narcotic drugs, and psychotropic substances.
    2. However, for a foreign-owned company, the minimum share capital before Business Permit can be granted is Ten Million Naira (₦10M).
    3. Please note, that there are some business enterprises that have prescribed minimum share capital which may be far higher than ₦10M. [Information on prescribed share capital (if any) will be provided once the nature of the intended business is known].
    4. Directors can be Nigerians or non-Nigerians, resident or non-resident, though the status of each must be stated. In reality, it is always recommended for a foreign-owned company to have a Nigerian as the Chairman, a director, or non-executive director to assist it with navigating the local business waters.
    5. After incorporation, there are some other regulatory approvals before a foreign-owned company will be allowed to carry on operations or be able to repatriate its income and earnings.
  1. The mandatory regulatory approvals include the following:
      1. Registration with Nigerian Investment Promotions Council (NIPC) – The NIPC is the government body saddled with the official responsibility of regulating foreign investments in Nigeria. The NIPC Act mandates that any company with foreigners’ participation must be registered with the NIPC.
      2. Registration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) – This is the regulatory body in charge of Federal tax matters including the Companies Income Tax.
      3. Certificate of Capita Importation – to allow repatriation of funds
      4. Business Permit – foreign nationals wishing to start a business, trade, or a profession in Nigeria must first obtain a business permit. This Business Permit is to legally allow the local operation of such a business that has a foreign interest.
      5. Expatriate Quota – If a company wishes to employ expatriates, such must obtain an Expatriate Quota position for each of the expatriates it wishes to employ. The expatriate quota stipulates the maximum number of expatriates that can be employed by the company.
      6. Residence Permit – The Nigerian Immigration Service issues a Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC) for expatriates who intend to work and live in the country. This is after the grant of the expatriate quota positions. Each expatriate will be required to apply and they can be accompanied by their families and dependents.
  2. Other necessary approvals include:
        1. Pioneer Status
    1. Transfer of Technology Agreements –


Registered Office

    1. It is not specifically stated that a company doing business in Nigeria must have a registered office; however, many documents for governmental approvals must contain the physical address of the applicant company. So, it is naturally assumed that such a company must have a physical location for the service of necessary papers or correspondence.
    2. In certain situations, evidence of the location or physical address of the company must be provided. For example, in the application forms for Business Permit and approval for Pioneer Status, there is the requirement that the company must submit evidence of business premises in form of a tenancy, lease or purchase agreement.
    3. Let us end by stating that obtaining a registered office/location anywhere in Nigeria should not be a matter of concern. Our firm is able to procure whatever the size, location, or a number of physical offices your organization may desire.


Requirements for Accounting

    1. Under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), the law mandates that all companies must maintain books of accounts and produce their financial statements under the International Financial Reporting Standard (IFRS).
    2. Aside from this, there is no requirement for a specific chart or accounting system or accounting software/host for the company’s accounts in Nigeria.
    3. Please note that at the first meeting of the directors of the company, they must decide on what date of the year their financial statements will be made up to, and then give notice of this date to the CAC within 14 days.
    4. A report must also be prepared by the director containing a fair view of the company’s business, its development, the amount recommended as dividends, the amount recommended as reserves, the financial activities of the company during that year, etc.


Taxes for Companies in Nigeria

    1. Companies Income Tax in Nigeria
    2. Personal Income tax
    3. Withholding Tax
    4. VAT
    5. Please note that there are other levies payable by companies in certain business activities.

However, exemptions are available on taxable incomes for foreign businesses.


Our Services (How We Can Help You)

As legal practitioners, we are available to offer your organization consultancy and legal advisory services. These services range from incorporating/registering your business enterprise, obtaining the requisite government approvals on your behalf, procuring and completing the process of acquisition of leasehold or freehold properties for your operations, engaging other professionals where their expert services are needed, and generally offering legal services for the successful take-off and continued operation of your business enterprise. Our devotion is to the success of your business venture in Nigeria.

Our guiding principle here is our integrity. We have associated with many other individuals and organizations from outside Nigeria many of whom we never knew but today remain some of our best clients, expressing their satisfaction with our professional services.

It is our belief that you too will be satisfied with our professional services.


Thank you.

Manuel Akinshola Esq. (Managing Solicitor)

Jacobs & Bigaels Legal Practitioners


If you need any information on the above matters, then contact us by phone on +234909 601 6093 or use our contact us form here.

We look forward to being of service to you.


(Disclaimer: Please note that the above summary is for information purposes ONLY and does not constitute a legal advice or opinion).


Turkey considers opening up citizenship to lure foreign property investors

Turkey’s government has decided to offer Turkish citizenship to foreigners in exchange for an investment of only $300,000 in the property sector, down from the current $1 million investment required to buy Turkish citizenship.

The $1 million incentive came into effect in January last year.  Foreigners can buy real estate worth $1 million, or make a capital investment of $2m, or keep at least $3m in a bank account for at least three years, or create at least 100 jobs in the country.

The government also exempted foreign buyers from paying 18% value added tax (VAT) when investing in real estate. The exemption is also applicable to Turks who have lived and worked abroad for more than six months.

The initiative was expected to bring in at least $10 billion in foreign exchange per month.  But only $4.64 billion came in January, 2018 – an increase of only $750 million from $3.89 billion in January 2017.

The government is now planning to submit an omnibus bill to parliament to lower the citizenship bar.

Citizens of Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait make up the biggest group of foreign buyers in Turkey, according to data from the Turkish Statistical Institute.



Foreign residential buyers’ interest in Italy jumps

There’s been a significant boost in sales of luxury Italian properties valued at €10 million (US$11.70 million) or more.   The trend is expected to filter down to lower priced homes in coming months, according to Knight Frank.

This signals a strong recovery in the Italian housing market, after a slump due to poor economic conditions. The total number of enquiries for Italian homes on Knight Frank’s website increased by 133% year-on-year in 2017, with rising interest from foreign buyers the main reason for this recovery.

Nearly 45% of the interest came from potential buyers from the UK, followed by Italy (15.1%), the US 11%, then 2.6% from Australia, 2.6% from Germany, 2.4% from Canada, 2.3% from Switzerland, 2.2% from Denmark, 1.9% from the Netherlands and 1.8% from France.

“Our enquiry numbers for Italian homes, up 133% in 2017 year on year, suggests any uncertainty on the political or economic stage such as the general election, banking crisis and Brexit negotiations, have not influenced buyers’ decision making,” said Amy Redfern, senior negotiator for Knight Frank’s Italian desk.

The report says that the lifestyle on offer in Italy remains the primary motivation for most international buyers. “A second home located within a short flight of their primary residence, which offers strong rental prospects and the promise of a good climate, culture, and landscape acts as a strong pull,” said Redfern.

She added, “Of note is the uptick in interest from Australia and New Zealand. Many applicants are semi-retired couples with children working in Europe seeking a long term summer base to use for family get togethers. City apartments in Florence and Rome are popular; particularly those easy to maintain as well as lock up and leave”.

Florence, Rome and Lucca are the most in-demand regions in Italy, accounting for around 40% of the enquiries, according to the report.



Study blames overseas investment for steep rise in UK home prices

Foreign real estate investment has pushed up the rise of home prices by more than a quarter in the UK, according to a study by King’s College London (KCL).

Had there been no foreign investment, average home prices would have hovered around £174,000 (US$245,115) by 2014, but the influx of foreign money caused them to go up to £215,000 (US$302,900) in 2014 from £70,000 (US$98,610) in 1999, according to the study.

Much of this growth happened via investments through anonymous shell companies registered in secretive tax havens.

Foreign investment also negatively affected homeownership rates in the UK, according to the study.  It not only raised the price of expensive homes, but also had a “trickle-down” effect on the rest of the market, according to Filipa Sa, the KLC senior lecturer who conducted the research.

The study attributes to overseas investment the fact that the UK’s largest price increases were in London and the South-east. Some other cities including Liverpool and Manchester witnessed a similar phenomenon.

An analysis of land registry data showed a direct impact on home prices of sales to overseas companies. For example, a rise of 1% in the share of property sales to overseas companies caused prices in the local area to go up by 2.1%.

The UK government announced recently that those involved in helping shell companies to invest in British property will face up to two years in prison and unlimited fines, if the true beneficial owners of the property are not named on a public register. However, the bill has not yet been tabled in parliament.

Overseas buyers bought 3,600 of London’s 28,000 newly built homes between 2016 and 2016, according to research commissioned by London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Half were priced for first-time buyers at between £200,000 (US$281,700) and £500,000 (US$704,400).



Wish to live legally in Canada? There are many avenues available to you.

There are many legal avenues to emigrate to Canada and live legally. Some of these avenues include the following:

  1. Immigrate (Express Entry) – The Canadian Federal and Provincial Governments have many Express Entry programs for foreign nationals wishing to settle and live in Canada. There are currently over 60 programs available. But the most appropriate program for you will depend on your background, training/knowledge or goals.

Under the Express Entry, there are many categories for professionals and workers. Some of these include the Federal Skilled workers Program, Provincial Nomination Programs, the Canadian Experience Class, the Federal Self-Employed Program, etc.

  1. Work – You can work and live legally in Canada if you have a work permit. Of course, it is common knowledge that Canada is in need of a workforce, but this doesn’t mean that you must not follow the legally stimulated procedure. Generally, to work in Canada, you require a work permit. And this work permit is almost always issued by the Canadian High Commission/Embassy of your country.

There are, however, certain persons who may not need a work permit in Canada, and these include Business Visitors, Military Personnel, Performing Artists, Athletes and Team Members, News Reporter, Clergy, Public Speakers, Health care students, etc.

  1. Study – You may study and live in Canada. But forget about the hype; you must obtain a Study Permit which will be issued by the High Commission/Embassy of your country.

You are also allowed to work while you study in Canada, for a number of hours per week.

But the major advantage in studying in Canada is that the system allows you to work after graduation. It is called Post-Graduation Work Permit. Under this scheme, you may stay and work in Canada for up to three years after you graduation under an open work permit. The experience you gain here may come useful if you decide to settle permanently.

  1. Business – There are several options available for business persons, investors or managers to live and work permanently in Canada. The Canadian and Provincial Governments offer a variety of options that may fast-track your immigration process.

The most appropriate business class option for you will depend on a number of factors, including your net worth, the Province of your intended settlement, your experience, etc.

  1. Family sponsorship – If you have a family member who is a citizen or permanent resident in Canada, he may sponsor your immigration. However, the relationship category allowed for sponsorship is limited to spouses and common-law partners, parents, grandparents, and dependent children.

There is also the Super Visa program which allows the parents and Grandparents of Canadian citizens and permanent residents to come to Canadian as visitors for two consecutive years at their initial visit without having to renew their status. Of course, you do not have work rights under this Super Visa option but the visa can remain valid for up to 10 years, allowing for re-entry during this period.