FORM M Document for shipment to Nigeria? What is your answer to this question? In one word the answer yes. You need it to initiate the import process in Nigeria the first place. Form M document has always been part of the process of importation to Nigeria at least for a long time. What is new is the introduction of electronic Format, which commenced on November 22, 2012 in the era of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and Ngozi Okonjo Iweala as Finance Minister.
From then on, hard-copy or paper Form M is no longer required. Form M document is now electronically transmitted. The essence was and still is to reduce human interface. Also, like every electronic means, improve ease of doing business, and reduce or eliminate crude corruption.
FORM M DOCUMENT: WHAT DO YOU NEED TO KNOW?
The following are true of Form M in Nigeria:
- Tax Identification Number (TIN) is now a prerequisite for electronic Form M processing. In fact, it is your key-username to the single window for trade website, which is the platform to obtain Form M
- Initiation and Approval of Form M is now on Trade Portal
- Acceptance and Rejection can be monitored on the single window for trade portal
- Documents required for Form M are the Pro forma Invoice, the Marine Cargo Insurance Certificate, SON Product Certificate or SON Import Permit or NESREA Clearance Permit for certain used items.
FORM M DOCUMENT: IS IT POSSIBLE TO IMPORT TO NIGERIA WITHOUT IT?
Again the answer is yes. The method being used for shipping into Nigeria is of importance. If for instance you have an item below or equal to 50KG, and if courier method (DHL, UPS and the likes) is used, then the shipment can be cleared without Form M, and is faster.
If normal airfreight method is used, then you will need to provide the Customs Clearance vendor with the following documents in other for them to treat the shipment as express. Small weight like 50KG be can be handled immediately at the airport upon arrival.
- Commercial Invoice
- Packing List
- Air Waybill –AWB.
FORM M DOCUMENT: CAN I STILL CLEAR SHIPMENT IF MISTAKENLY SHIPPED WITHOUT FORM M?
Yes you can. Only do not abuse, otherwise you could be sanctioned. The solution to this is the direct assessment of your imported item by the relevant authority based on accurate value and information.
Read Also: CALCULATING CUSTOMS DUTY; NIGERIA AS EXAMPLE
Question from our client: I have sent an airfreight with gross weight of 28KG without the Form M document. Can you help me clear the cargo?
Answer: yes we can, forward to us the commercial invoice, packing list and the air waybill.
You need Form M document to initiate the import process in Nigeria. However, this is not to say that Form is the only importation route. Yes, your importation to Nigeria can as well be assessed directly for duty payment. In my next article, I will update you on recent development on importation or shipment into Nigeria.