What to do to start an exportation business



By Iyiola Oyedepo

In today’s global economy, exportation remains a guaranteed way businesses and government can sell their excess goods or services to other countries at prices higher than what is obtainable in their domestic market. Exporting also gives access to a larger number of potential customers, and creates employment which benefits the economy.

The business of export all over the world is primarily about processes and documentation e.g. the buyer needs the assurance that he is getting what he is paying for whilst the seller/exporter needs the assurance that he will get paid. It is thus paramount for an exporter to understand the requisite processes and documentation and the intent of this article is to explore the basic legal requirements of exporting in Nigeria.

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Company Registration – A potential exporter is required to register a Limited Liability Company or Cooperative Society which has exportation as one of its objectives.

Registration with NEPC – A firm which wishes to export has to be registered with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) which is the agency charged with the responsibility of registering new entrants into the exporting business by issuing them an export licence.

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Export Research – An exporter has to carry out some form of research in order to identify market opportunities and identify prospective buyers and customers. Market research encompasses all methods that a company can use to determine which foreign markets have the best potential for its products.

Contract – After ascertaining a market for the products, the exporter would need to enter into an export contract with the potential buyer. Such contracts would normally stipulate, Quality, Quantity, Packaging, Duration, Pricing, Payment terms and Payment methods, Dispute resolution etc.

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Documentation– To carry out exportation in Nigeria an exporter is required to complete and register Form NXP with an Authorized Dealer (any Commercial or Merchant Bank) of his choice. Additional documentation required include pro-forma invoice, relevant certificate of quality, Shipping documents e.g. bill of exit, bill of lading etc.

The reality is that Nigeria must now export other things apart from crude oil and the key to starting a successful exporting business lies in acquiring knowledge of how the market works and compliance with all legal protocols.

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