March 21, 2020

How to import goods into Nigeria with “Form m,” in simple steps

Form m – Are you an aspiring importer, have you been trying to get your goods into the country but had challenges coming into terms or understanding the basis of form m as an import requirement?

If the above sounds like you, then sit back and read diligently, I will be running a complete exposition detailing how you can access and use ” Form M” just like you’re lacing up your shoe string.

For the record, I am not telling you what I read elsewhere, rather detailing you what I do and know the dynamics, so you have the opportunity of reading and learning from someone who has a practical experience of every single thing you’ll be reading in here.

My past errors and mistakes are already your advantage and lessons, so make the most of it while it lasts.

Importation of goods and services from one country to another doesn’t just happen out of the blues, there are regulatory and confirmatory standards set in place by the government of every nation, which citizens who wish to import goods and services should meet.

Introducing the concept “Form M.”

Form m is a statutory documentation process instituted by the Federal government usually enforced by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Nigeria Custom service (NCS), which soul responsibility is to enforce and monitor imported goods into the country, by this arrangement they ensure that every import duty accruable/payable by law is collected and remitted to the federal government.

Read also: All you need to know about import documents in Nigeria

In the past, Form M is processed manually, this hinders and limits the process in so many ways thereafter delay in proceedings.

In the light of this, the Federal government in collaboration with the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and Nigeria Custom Service (NCS) have created an online platform/window which enhances and fastens the process in recent times via the single window trade portal.

The importer has the responsibility to complete the application on the trade portal as duly required, which mostly the assists with this task.

The importer completes and submits the application, thereafter takes note of the Form M number generated.

Benefits of Form M to importers

The importance and advantages enjoyed by importers using Form M cannot be underscored, it has helped in varying facets thus:

  • It reduces the time required to complete an importation process, from importation to clearing and all what have you
  • Status of transactions are now confirmed with ease on the portal
  • It serves as a meeting point for all parties concerned, Central Bank of Nigeria, Nigeria Custom Service and the importer, this makes for timely resolution of differences perceived on the course of importation.
  • Transactions can be initiated and completed from any location by the concerned parties without unnecessary travels.
  • It helps check smuggling of illegal arms into the  country
  • It checks undervaluation of imports
  • It makes for inspection of commodities etc.

Requirements for Form M

  • Por forma invoice
  • Insurance certificate
  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Prove of registration with Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)
  • Tax Identification Number (TIN)

Pro forma Invoice Explained

 This is an invoice that contains details of transactions like quantity, unit price, weight of the goods purchased. A customer agrees to the price on the pro forma invoice, and then the seller deliver the goods. There’s no back and forth after you’ve fulfilled your end of the bargain as it’s all agreed up front.

There are other advantages to pro forma invoices too:

  • They’re ideal if you don’t have all the details for a commercial invoice – for example, before the goods are delivered.
  • As an extension of this, pro forma invoices are usually sent to declare the value of goods for customs for a smooth delivery process.
  • They’re not a payment demand or request. Pro forma invoices are ‘good faith’ agreement so your customer knows what to expect.
  • Some businesses request pro forma invoices for their internal purchasing approval process.

Insurance Certificate

An insurance certificate is a certificate issued by an insurer to a shipper as evidence that a shipment of merchandise is covered under a marine insurance policy. This suggests that for any eventuality, the shipper will be indemnified for losses.

Certificate of Incorporation

This is a legal document issued to a business to run as a recognized entity in a country, in Nigeria, this is issued by the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), otherwise business name registration.

Registration with the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS)/TIN

Federal Inland Revenue Service as you may be aware is an agency that collects tax on behalf of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

The agency is saddled with the responsibility of tax remittance and issuance of Tax Identification Number (TIN) for unique individuals.

It ensures that taxes accrued to the goods imported are collected and remitted accordingly.

Having made these documents available, your bank has the responsibility to log on to the trade portal online, complete requisite details, generate the Form M number for onward processing.


Form M could be valid or non valid for Forex, it is valid for Forex when goods in question are not among the prohibited items viz versa.

It however has a validity period of 180 days, which thereafter another 180 days.

Have questions bothering on Form M and other import documents in Nigeria, kindly use the comment. In the meantime, thank you for reading.

3 Comments on “How to import goods into Nigeria with “Form m,” in simple steps

[…] How to import goods into Nigeria with “Form m,” in simple steps […]

September 28, 2020 at 9:42 am

Hello Tobi,

Thank you for your article it was very clarifying. I have a question, we need to issue one “Form M” per Proforma invoice or per container? For example if we want to import one container but this container is sent with two Proforma Invoices we have to issue one or two “Form M”?
Thank you very much in advance.

October 28, 2020 at 5:13 pm

Can one open form M for an item in the 41 list not valid for forex by the CBN


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