The import/export sector of economy is the number one lifeline of the nation’s growth. The ratio of imports to exports has a direct impact on the growth or recession of the country’s economy. In Nigeria, this industry is largely run by the private sector, and is being entirely regulated by the government. In a country like ours, with vast mineral resources and agricultural products; the opportunity for exportation is really huge. So, for the entrepreneur who would like to venture into import/export business in Nigeria; you’re not making any mistake, as the market for import/export is very large. This is because it cuts across so many countries/boundaries; whee you’re not being restricted by a region/territory. Follow this article for strategic tips on how to start an import/export business in Nigeria.




Register your business

To successfully launch your importer/exporter business in Nigeria; you need to first register your business name with the corporate affairs commission of Nigeria (CAC). In so doing, your business can now be said to be a legal entity; and this will help your business with a lot of legal issues. There are different categories of business registration in Nigeria. They include;

  • Registration of the business name
  • Registration for private limited company(Ltd)
  • Public limited company (PLC)
  • Company limited by guarantee(Ltd, GTE)
  • Unlimited company (ULTD)
  • Incorporated trustee


For a startup company like the one you’re considering; a private limited company will best suit it. You don’t even need a lawyer to get the registration done.

Follow these steps to register your business;

  • First, you will need to find a business name. You shouldn’t take this for granted and be very creative about choosing your business name, because most names have already been registered by other business. While it might sound strange that the name you have in your mind might have already been taken; that is usually the case. So to avoid any unnecessary delays; think hard before you pick a name for the business.
  • You should either visit the CAC office or better yet visit the official website to fill an application form. On the form, you’ll be required to enter your name, address, the type of company you wish to register, and a business name
  • Next, you will be presented with a business form to fill. You will also be charged about ten thousand naira or more altogether.
  • Other necessary documents will also be required. With your attestation and other requirements in place, you should be able to receive your business name certification in about one or two weeks.


By registering your business, you are simply letting the government know that you now own a business and that your business name is yours.

To register your business with CAC, you can contact any of our business consultant on; 08105636015, or send an email to


Get products to import and export

Once you are registered with the CAC, you can now start sourcing for products to import and export. Deciding the products to import and export is an important phase of starting this business. There’s a whole lot of agricultural items you can export, especially agricultural products such as cocoa, yam, cassava, pineapples, and so on.

There are quite a range of products you can trade in, though there are different requirements for each one of them. So it is recommended that you have a good idea about your choice of products before you begin the process, else it might pose a problem later on.

The following factors should help you determine the perfect product to trade on:

  • Your passion. Of course, your passion should play a major role in whatever business you engage in. Your passion for your line of business is the stuff that will keep you going even when the going gets tough. Let’s face it; no business is entirely rosy, you will definitely face hassles along the way. So you really need to consider something you have a passion for.
  • Check for trends. Before you start up your business, you need to make sure you align with something that is trendy at any given time. Find out what products are trending in the importer/exporter industry and then work with that.
  • Check for competition. When starting out, ensure that you don’t trade in a product with a lot of competition, unless of course you are very sure that you’ll improve on that product to make it unique; this will serve as your unique selling point.
  • Run a product and market research. Look for a wide range of products and learn there is to learn about each of them. To reach a more informed decision as to the kind of product to trade in; just make a list of all possible products you have passion for, and can do well in, then carry out an extensive research on each.
  • Identify your market. To startup, find an individual buyer/company or a country that you will be trading with. As you continue to grow in the business, your customer base will also increase to more buyers and more countries.




Getting buyers for your products

The next big step to launch your importer/exporter business in Nigeria is sourcing for buyers for your business. That’s the point of doing the business anyway; you’ve got to be able to sell your goods. It is really important for the survival of your business to find and maintain a steady flow of customers who will be interested in buying what you have to sell. Export business is slightly different from local trade, in that; you may or may not get to see or speak one on one with the buyers of your products. And most times finding buyers can pose a problem for newbies. So what should you do to increase your chances of finding buyers for your goods?

  • Build an online presence. This is major marketing strategy that should be fully explored in order to help you meet your sales goals and target. Get your business on every online front available, from creating a website to social media platforms and blogging. You could also monitor e-market platforms like Alibaba to find people who might need the product you are selling.
  • Chamber of commerce. Different countries have their chamber of commerce in Nigeria, as well as the bilateral chamber of commerce. Reach out to these bodies to learn about trade in their different countries, and also search for them online to access more insight for your enquiries.
  • Trade fairs. Trade fairs or shows are exhibitions where different companies in a particular industry get together to exhibit their products and services. It is a great marketing and networking strategy. So make it a point of duty to attend trade fairs, in doing so, you will have a better idea and understanding of individuals and businesses that will be interested in your line of business.
  • Register with National Exports Board. To help establish your business, you can also get it registered with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), this will greatly impact on your company’s growth. This is because the NEPC is tasked with promoting the business of Nigerian exporters. They also organise trade fairs to improve buyer-seller relationships.
  • Contact buying agents. Buying agents are more like middlemen whobact on behalf of their clients to purchase goods from foreign exporters. These days, more and more businesses from abroad send buying agents into Nigeria to help them buy their products, instead of them transacting virtually with buyers. You need to get in touch with these buying agents and see how to strike a working relationship with them
  • Run paid ads. Seeing that the Internet has made the world a global village; you need to exploit this media fully. Run paid ads on search engines like Google. With the internet, it is more than possible for you to showcase your business to a larger percentage of the world population; use Facebook effectively for marketing your stuff; run Facebook ads, create a Facebook page, run ads on Instagram. Get influencers to push your business. Just exploit every possible platform as far as the internet is concerned.
  • Do email marketing
  • Leverage LinkedIn optimally




Basic requirements for starting your importer/exporter business in Nigeria

Below are all essential requirements you need to meet to establish an importer/exporter business in Nigeria;

  • Register your business
  • Register with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council ( NEPC)
  • Register with customs by completing the form NXP
  • Obtain special licenses and permits for the products you want to deal in
  • Verify that your desired products are not on the prohibited goods list
  • Get your insurance covered
  • Partner with a freight forwarding service company that will be shipping your goods.


Finding suppliers

Finding the right suppliers for your products is also another important factor to the success of your business. Look out for the following when sourcing for suppliers.

  • Stability
  • Quality
  • Price
  • Reliability


Your pricing

Once you’ve settled everything, you’re ready to start selling your goods. But first, you need to determine the pricing for your products. To sell at an acceptable price, you should;

  • Take into account all logistics involved to acquire your goods
  • Do a market research to find out how others are pricing their stuff


List of exportable goods in Nigeria



  1. Melon
  2. Zobo leaves
  3. Vegetables
  4. Cashew nuts
  5. Garlic
  6. Ginger
  7. Bitter kola
  8. Sesame
  9. Hibiscus flower
  10. Plantain
  11. Locust beans
  12. Tiger nuts
  13. Fabrics
  14. Pepper
  15. Cocoa
  16. Kolanut
  17. Palm fruit
  18. Moringa seed
  19. Charcoal
  20. Groundnut
  21. Walnut
  22. Edible local chalks(Nzu)
  23. Shea butter
  24. Crayfish
  25. Bread fruit
  26. Ogbono seeds
  27. Locust beans.


Before you start this business, ensure that you know all there is to know about the business. This article is not exhaustive…


To your success!

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