The Frustration of Setting Up A Business in Nigeria

I'm not talking about running a business in Nigeria. I have little experience about that. I'm talking about all the processes (or should I say all the stresses) you will go through to take your business from an unregistered idea to one registered with CAC and having a corporate account.

It is almost 6 months since I registered my company as a Limited Liability Company with CAC, and I'm still struggling to get a corporate account. Now don't take this as the usual; I'm probably the only one experiencing this.

In October 2013, I had my company registered. And for the first time (or so it seems) I read the Memorandum of Association and the "Objects for which the company is established" is a work of genius. It has all the objects of almost all the businesses that can be established except banks. So I've got flexibility, I can wake up tomorrow and say I want to go into Real Estate or Petroleum or Cement manufacturing. But till that tomorrow comes, it's giving me some tough time already. Yesterday, after 6 months of putting together all I needed for a corporate account opening, I was told that since I would be dealing in real estate, oil and gas, manufacturing and trading, I should go get a SCUML from EFCC.

I guess no one can have a humbler beginning than me. To begin a conglomerate that does real estate, oil and gas, manufacturing and trading as one young man doing Excel training and VBA. In fact, what I'm doing and planning to do the entire life of the company is in the AOB section of the memorandum.

But let's move to the fun part. Why it took me 6 months to put together the photocopies of my incorporation documents, photocopy of my international passport, one passport photograph, 2 filled reference forms, photocopy of our PHCN bill, and photocopy of TIN. 

The problem was the TIN. The company tax identification number from FIRS. A friend charged me N30,000 to get me the TIN last year. He asked for all my incorporation documents, company seal and stamp. That week I got to late super late on one of the days. I went to get a Stamp and Seal made. Fast forward two months. No TIN and my entire company was still him. Then fast forward 3 months. I had quit my job and gotten my company back from him, but no TIN. Then I became frustrated and decided to do the TIN myself, hoping it won't cost me more than N10,000. So this Monday I went to the FIRS office at 2B Lateef Jakande road, Agindingbi, Ikeja. It's just beside LTV8/Eko FM. And in less than 40 mins I had the TIN and for free. So I paid N30,000 and 5 months for a TIN that was free. Oh, I need to rephrase that. I lost N30,000 and 5 months for a TIN that was free.

Today, I'm going to EFCC's office at 15 Awolowo road, Ikoyi to get the SCUML. I tried reading up on it. There's an entire government run website dedicated to it, Amazingly it allows for SCUML registration online. But the bank says I'll need to come back with a document, so I'll have to go to the physical office.

And about my memorandum of association, if you've waited as long as I did and paid for premium (fast track) service like I did, you wouldn't want to repeat that waiting and paying cycle. You'd accept whatever was made you even if your intended business falls under the AOB section.

BTW. My company's services brochure was finally done yesterday. You can get it here. Or view it in the frame below. Thanks.


  1. Again, you have caucasians all over your company service brochure. Your target is the Nigerian market (at least mainly) and you are using people who look nothing like Nigerians. If I needed any of the services listed. I will not be contacting you.
    Good luck with your new company. Yes setting up a business in Nigeria can be frustrating. This is why lots of businesses/services are still not included in the GDP even after the recalculation and they are able to evade taxes too.

  2. Thanks for the frank feedback!

    I have made the changes. Any other thing you feel needs to be changed?

    I really appreciate your sincere feedback. Thanks a lot!


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