How To Become A Registered Exporter in Nigeria With NEPC

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) stands as the Federal Government of Nigeria’s premier institution, charged with the ambitious task of advancing the development and diversification of Nigeria’s export trade. Established under the Nigerian Export Decree No. 26 of 1976 and inaugurated in March 1977, the Council has consistently pursued its mandate with vigor and strategic direction.

Its efforts are aimed at coordinating and harmonizing export development and promotion activities across the country, positioning itself as a leader in national export programs, and a key liaison with international trade agencies on cooperation and capacity building.

The NEPC’s vision is a bold and clear one: to transform the global marketplace by showcasing Nigerian non-oil products and to champion the diversification of the Nigerian economy by expanding and increasing non-oil exports.

This mission is crucial for sustainable and inclusive economic growth, and it underscores the importance of nurturing a vibrant export sector.

These initiatives are designed to equip prospective exporters with the necessary tools and knowledge on how to start an export business, ensuring that they are well-prepared to navigate the complexities of international trade and registration processes.

In this article, we will explain the steps, requirements, and benefits of becoming a registered exporter in Nigeria, under the guidance of the NEPC.

Role and Objectives Of NEPC In Nigeria’s Export Sector

The Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) plays a critical role in Nigeria’s export sector, with objectives that are geared towards enhancing the performance of the country’s non-oil exports in the global market.

Here are the roles and objectives of the NEPC in detail:

  1. Policy Advocacy and Coordination:
    • NEPC serves as an advisor to the Nigerian government on export-related policies.
    • It works to ensure that these policies are conducive to the growth of the export sector.
    • The council coordinates with various ministries and agencies to harmonize efforts in export promotion.
  2. Export Promotion and Development:
    • The council actively promotes Nigerian goods and services in the international market.
    • It identifies and develops potential non-oil export markets.
    • NEPC encourages Nigerian producers and exporters to participate in international trade fairs and exhibitions.
  3. Capacity Building and Training:
    • NEPC provides training programs to educate and empower potential and existing exporters.
    • It aims to improve the competitiveness of Nigerian exports through skill development and knowledge sharing.
  4. Market Research and Trade Information Dissemination:
    • The council conducts market research to identify trends, opportunities, and challenges in the global market.
    • It disseminates trade information to Nigerian exporters to aid in decision-making.
  5. Export Incentives and Support:
    • NEPC administers various export incentives to encourage export activities.
    • It supports exporters through assistance with export procedures and documentation.
  6. Quality Assurance and Standards:
    • The council emphasizes the importance of meeting international quality standards to enhance marketability.
    • It guides exporters on compliance with global standards and certifications.
  7. Stakeholder Engagement and Collaboration:
    • NEPC collaborates with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to foster a supportive export community.
    • It facilitates networking opportunities for exporters to engage with buyers and trade partners.
  8. Sustainability and Diversification:
    • The council aims to diversify the export base of the Nigerian economy to reduce dependence on oil exports.
    • It encourages sustainable export practices that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible.

The NEPC is instrumental in driving Nigeria’s transition towards a diversified economy with a robust export-led growth strategy.

The council’s initiatives and programs are designed to build a sustainable export culture and enhance Nigeria’s participation in the global trade arena, contributing to the overall economic development of the country.

Benefits of Being a Registered Exporter

Being a registered exporter, particularly in a country like Nigeria with its vast array of resources and business opportunities, offers numerous benefits that can help businesses thrive in the global marketplace.

Here are some of the key advantages:

  1. Access to International Markets:
    • Registration often includes being listed in exporter directories, which can increase visibility to international buyers.
    • Registered exporters are perceived as credible and reliable partners, opening doors to new business opportunities.
  2. Eligibility for Export Incentives:
    • Governments often provide financial and non-financial incentives to registered exporters, such as tax breaks, duty exemptions, and subsidies.
    • Exporters may have access to special funds or grants designed to support export activities.
  3. Trade Facilitation and Support:
    • Registered exporters receive guidance and support from the NEPC and other relevant agencies, which can help navigate the complexities of international trade.
    • They may benefit from assistance with trade documentation, export procedures, and compliance with international market standards.
  4. Capacity Building and Training:
    • Opportunities for training and development programs that can enhance export capabilities and knowledge.
    • Access to workshops, seminars, and courses focused on export marketing, finance, logistics, and other key areas.
  5. Market Intelligence and Information:
    • Exporters are provided with valuable market insights, trends, and research that can inform business strategies.
    • They may receive updates on trade agreements, regulatory changes, and other vital information that affects international trade.
  6. Networking Opportunities:
    • Being part of a network of exporters can lead to partnerships, joint ventures, and collaborations that can enhance business prospects.
    • Participation in trade missions, fairs, and exhibitions is often facilitated for registered exporters.
  7. Advocacy and Dispute Resolution:
    • Exporters have the support of the NEPC in addressing trade barriers and resolving disputes in foreign markets.
    • The council may advocate on behalf of exporters to ensure fair trade practices.
  8. Quality Assurance and Standards Compliance:
    • Assistance with obtaining quality certifications that are recognized internationally, enhancing product competitiveness.
    • Guidance on how to meet international standards and regulations, which is crucial for market entry and acceptance.
  9. Increased Competitiveness:
    • Access to current best practices and benchmarking against industry standards can help exporters improve their offerings.
    • The credibility of being a registered exporter can give a competitive edge in bidding for international contracts.

Eligibility Criteria for Registration

To become a registered exporter in Nigeria through the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), certain eligibility criteria must be met. These criteria ensure that only qualified businesses and individuals engage in export activities, which helps to maintain the standards and reputation of Nigerian exports in the global market.

Below are the typical eligibility criteria for registration:

  • The applicant must have a legally registered business entity with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) in Nigeria.
  • Proof of business registration, such as a certificate of incorporation, is required
  • Applicants must be compliant with tax regulations and possess a valid Tax Identification Number (TIN).
  • Evidence of tax compliance may be required during the registration process.
  • The exporter must either produce the goods they intend to export or have legal ownership and the right to sell and export them.
  • Documentation proving ownership or a supply agreement with producers may be necessary.
  • A physical location for the business operations, such as an office or factory, may be needed.
  • Proof of a business address and possibly a utility bill for verification might be requested.
  • A business bank account is typically required to facilitate financial transactions related to export activities.
  • Bank reference letters might be part of the documentation needed.
  • The products intended for export must fall under the categories that are legally allowed to be exported from Nigeria.
  • Certain goods may be prohibited or restricted, and it’s crucial to ensure that your products are not on that list.
  • The applicant should have no criminal record associated with economic sabotage, financial fraud, or any activity that could undermine the integrity of the export process.
  • Some registration processes may require the exporter to be a member of relevant trade or professional associations related to their export business.
  • Depending on the product, compliance with international quality and safety standards may be required.
  • Certifications or proof of adherence to such standards may be part of the eligibility requirements.
  • The NEPC or other regulatory bodies may require the completion of specific training programs or workshops on exporting procedures and regulations.

It’s important to note that these criteria are general and may vary depending on the specific regulations at the time of registration. Potential exporters should consult the NEPC or its official resources for the most current and detailed registration requirements.

Additionally, the NEPC may offer guidance and support services to assist applicants in meeting these eligibility criteria and completing the registration process.

The NEPC Verification Portal

The NEPC Verification Portal is an online platform designed to facilitate the verification of exporters registered under the NEPC.

This portal serves as a centralized system that allows for efficient and transparent validation of exporter credentials and export-related documents. Here’s how such a portal typically functions:

  1. Online registration: Exporters can initiate the registration process via the portal by submitting their business information and required documentation. The portal serves as an entry point for new exporters to become officially part of the Nigerian export community.
  2. Document submission and verification: The portal allows for the electronic submission of documents necessary for the verification process. It verifies the authenticity of documents against NEPC’s database and other relevant agencies, ensuring compliance with export regulations.
  3. Real-time status updates: Exporters can check the status of their registration and verification processes in real time. Notifications and updates regarding the verification process are communicated through the portal.
  4. Access to the exporter database: The portal provides access to a database of verified exporters, which can be used by stakeholders and international buyers to confirm the legitimacy of potential business partners in Nigeria.
  5. Renewal of registration: The portal simplifies the renewal process by allowing exporters to update their information and renew their registration online. Reminders for renewal and expiry notices are also typically a feature of such portals.
  6. Compliance and quality control: The portal assists in ensuring that exporters comply with national and international export standards. It may integrate with quality control mechanisms to maintain the standard of exports from Nigeria.
  7. Training and capacity building: Exporters can access information about training programs, workshops, and seminars organized by the NEPC. The portal may offer e-learning modules and resources to improve exporter knowledge and expertise.
  8. Support and assistance: Exporters can get support and assistance directly through the portal via live chat, email, or a dedicated helpline. FAQs and troubleshooting guides are often available for self-service assistance.

How To Register As An Exporter With NEPC: Step-by-Step Guide

Registering as an exporter with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) is a structured process designed to ensure that only qualified businesses engage in export activities. The step-by-step guide below outlines the standard procedure for registration, based on the information available as of my last update:

Step 1: Determine Eligibility

Review the NEPC’s eligibility criteria to ensure your business qualifies to become an exporter. Ensure your products are eligible for export and your business is in compliance with local regulations.

Step 2: Gather Required Documents

Compile the necessary documentation, which typically includes:

  • Company registration certificate from the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN).
  • Memorandum and Articles of Association.
  • Evidence of company’s operational address or utility bill.

Step 3: Access the NEPC Registration Portal

Visit the official NEPC website and navigate to the exporter registration section. Create an account on the NEPC Verification Portal, if you’re a first-time user, or log in if you already have an account.

Step 4: Complete the Online Application

Fill out the online registration form with accurate and verifiable information about your business. Upload the required documents as specified on the portal.

Step 5: Pay Registration Fees

Calculate the applicable registration fee based on the category and size of your business. Make the payment through the online platform provided, which could include bank transfers or card payments.

Step 6: Submit the Application

Review your application and attached documents for completeness and accuracy. Submit the application through the portal and obtain a receipt or acknowledgment of submission.

Step 7: Verification Process

The NEPC will review your application and may request additional information or clarification. They will conduct due diligence to verify the documents and information provided.

Step 8: Obtain the Exporter’s Certificate

Once verified and approved, you will be issued an Exporter’s Certificate. This certificate is proof of your registration and is often required when dealing with international buyers and local customs.

Important Notes:

  • The actual registration process may vary slightly depending on current NEPC procedures and policies.
  • It’s advisable to consult the NEPC directly or visit their official website for the most up-to-date registration steps and requirements.
  • Registration with NEPC is typically focused on non-oil exports, aligning with the Nigerian government’s objective to diversify the export base.

What Are The Post-Registration Requirements and Compliance?

After successfully registering with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) and beginning your journey as a recognized exporter, there are post-registration requirements and compliance standards that you must adhere to maintain your registration status and operate within the legal framework of international trade. These typically include:

1. Renewal of Registration: Exporters must renew their registration with the NEPC periodically (often annually) to maintain their exporter status. Failure to renew on time can result in the suspension of export privileges.

2. Record Keeping: Maintain comprehensive records of all export transactions and related documents. Proper documentation such as sales invoices, shipping documents, and receipts must be kept for a specified number of years as required by law.

3. Regulatory Compliance: Adhere to all local and international trade regulations, including those related to customs, taxes, and export controls. Comply with international standards and certifications required for your specific products.

4. Reporting Obligations: Submit regular reports on export activities as required by the NEPC and other regulatory bodies. Reports may include details on volumes, values, destinations, and commodities exported.

5. Tax Compliance: Stay current with tax obligations, including income tax, VAT, and any other applicable export taxes. Regularly file tax returns as stipulated by the Nigerian tax authorities.

6. Quality Control: Ensure all exported products meet the quality standards required by both the NEPC and destination markets. Engage in consistent product testing and quality assurance processes.

Fulfilling these post-registration requirements and staying compliant with the rules and regulations is not only a legal obligation but also a business imperative to ensure the longevity and prosperity of your export endeavors.

It fosters trust with international buyers, enhances your business reputation, and contributes positively to Nigeria’s economic development.

FAQ: Registering an Export Business in Nigeria

How do I register an export business in Nigeria? To register an export business in Nigeria, follow these steps:

  1. Register your company with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC).
  2. Obtain a Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
  3. Register with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) to get your Exporter’s Certificate.
  4. Fulfill any other sector-specific requirements and obtain necessary permits or certifications.

How much does an export license cost in Nigeria? The cost of an export license in Nigeria can vary. The NEPC charged an administrative fee for issuing the Exporter’s Certificate. It’s best to check the latest fee structure on the NEPC website or contact them directly for current charges.

What documents are required for export in Nigeria? Required documents for export typically include:

  • A completed NEPC registration form.
  • Company registration certificate from CAC.
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN).
  • Exporter’s Certificate from NEPC.
  • Commercial invoices.
  • Packing list.
  • Bill of lading or airway bill.
  • Certificate of Origin.
  • Relevant product certificates and inspections.

How do I register to be an exporter? To register as an exporter, you need to:

  1. Ensure you meet the eligibility criteria set by the NEPC.
  2. Apply for the Exporter’s Certificate through the NEPC’s online portal.
  3. Submit the required documents and pay the prescribed fee.
  4. Attend any mandatory training or seminars if required.

How do I start an export company? Starting an export company involves several steps:

  1. Conduct market research to identify viable products and target markets.
  2. Create a business plan outlining your export strategy and financial projections.
  3. Register your business and obtain the necessary licenses, including the Exporter’s Certificate.
  4. Set up your supply chain, production, and logistics.
  5. Market your products to potential buyers and establish trade relationships.

How do I get buyers for export from Nigeria? To find buyers for your export products:

  1. Attend international trade fairs and exhibitions.
  2. Use online trade platforms and B2B marketplaces.
  3. Network through chambers of commerce and industry associations.
  4. Utilize the NEPC’s exporter directory and matchmaking services.
  5. Invest in digital marketing to reach global customers.
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