How to get Nigerian Customs to clear your goods faster

  • 12/14/2021

Nigerian Customs can take weeks to clear imported goods. Here is how you can get your goods cleared faster and avoid paying excessive storage fees.

Nigeria changed its pre-shipment inspection policy to a destination inspection policy for imports. Under the new system, all imports are examined on arrival. Unfortunately, this sometimes leads to long custom clearance delays. Here are a few tips to help you get your goods cleared faster.

1. Verify applicable regulations before shipping

Nigeria’s shipping regulations vary depending on the country of origin. Therefore, to avoid unnecessary delays verify the licensing, special provisions, restrictions and any prohibited good applicable to the country you are shipping from.

2. Create a documentation checklist

Successfully clearing goods through Nigerian Customs requires several customs clearing documents. Compiling these required documents in advance is vital if you want to clear your goods quickly, avoiding hold-ups at the border. A check list will help ensure that you have all the necessary documents to clear your goods. In addition, you should include all the required information on your commercial invoice. This is because customs authorities will use the commercial invoice to classify and process your shipment.

3. Adequately budget for tax and duty payments

Most international shipments are liable to import duty and tax. Since these vary according to the destination and the shipment value, make sure you are fully aware of what you or the receiver will have to pay.

Failing to pay the tax or duty due for your shipment will lead to clearance delays. To avoid this, you can pre-determine the amount due by running a SONCAP simulation. Rates vary for different products, typically ranging from 5% to 35%. Customs duty in Nigeria is only levied on imports and is assessed with reference to the product’s Harmonized Commodity and Coding System (HS code).

4. Utilize dedicated agents to manage your SONCAP certification process

Certificates of conformity are mandatory for regulated products exported to Nigeria. In particular, SONCAP regulated products require a product certificate and SONCAP certificate for customs clearance. To help you avoid clearance delays, Cotecna offers dedicated agents to guide you through the SONCAP certification process.

In addition, the Cotecna utilizes digital solutions like the semi-automated Customer Portal which enables exporters to request for certification and receive issued certificates faster. As a result of the quick turnaround time, Nigerian Customs will clear your good faster, helping you avoid paying expensive storage fees.

To learn more about getting your products SONCAP certified or exporting to Nigeria, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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