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A cheat sheet for IJGB’s relocating to Nigeria from “the abroad”

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This article is for any of our I just Got Back (IJGB) Nigerians who are relocating from abroad for the first time. We are sure you have had friends, family members and acquaintances who have had a torrid time getting by in Nigeria especially having spent most of their lives living abroad.

This article will take you through some of the challenges you are bound to face as you get by and suggest things that you can do to avoid getting frustrated.

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Accommodation

Unlike in Western Countries, rent is paid in the first instance for 2 years upfront and then annually. In addition to your rent, you also pay for agency and legal fees of at least 10% of the annual rent. In some cases, the landlord can mask as both the agent and the lawyer just to rip you off. Bear in mind that in Lagos, the law allows you to pay 6 months in the first instance and monthly afterwards. But no one follows that law so, do not waste your time lamenting. Rather focus on getting a landlord that will allow you pay for one year. If you are lucky to deal with a reasonable landlord, you will not need to pay all those ridiculous fees. Agents by the way, charge you reimbursement of the money they spend on transport looking for house for you. It is also not deductible from the fees you pay them.

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If you want to buy a house, then we strongly suggest you buy from a property developer with a completed unit of housing. Should you decide to build yourself, then make sure you get a lawyer to run a search of the land from the state land registry. Lagos in particular is used to the menace of “omoniles” aka landowners who can sell the same land they sold to you to multiple people. It is who builds first that often wins this battle.

Transportation

Nigeria still doesn’t have a mega transportation system so don’t expect to see rails or some sophisticated mass transit. In Lagos, we have the Bus Rapid Transit popularly known as BRT, which is quite comfortable but doesn’t cover all routes. To compliment them are medium size buses, popularly called Danfo, in Lagos which seats about 14 passengers.

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We also have motorbikes, popularly called Okada which people rely on to get to destination faster. But please no matter what you do, never ride okada.  The riders are not trained and can barely read road signs.  They don’t wait for traffic lights and are prone to accidents. If you must get to your destination on time leave early. We also have tricycles which are popularly called Keke or Maruwa.  They are much better than Okadas but can be a nuisance if you have a car. And yes, we have Uber and Taxify, two of the most popular ride Sharing apps.

I have my car

Ok that’s great. Make sure you apply for a driver’s license. You can get this from the nearest road safety office embedded in a local government area or council office. At first, they will give you a temporary one to use. This is because the permanent ones can take months to be finalised. You can use the temporary ones for at most 6 months. We do not do driving test here and points are not deducted even when you drive like a mad man. Just don’t harm anyone or you might be lynched.

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You will also need to register your vehicle and ensure to do all that is necessary to avoid police wahala (problems). We also have comprehensive vehicle insurance, which insures your car against theft, accidents etc. Insurance premiums are like 4-5% of the value of the car (which is yours to decide). We also have third-party insurance which cost as little as N5k. It doesn’t get you anything it says it does except to comply with statutory requirements.  Third party is a must in Nigeria.

Opening a bank account

You will need to open a bank account with any of the 11 banks we have in Nigeria. Banks hardly fail these days but we advise you to stick with the one that can offer you the best deal and more customer friendly. It can take up to 48 hours to open a bank account and the requirements can be annoying. Make sure you have 4 passport photographs, a utility bill (possibly the light bill of wherever you stay), and an Identity card. If you are opening a current account then you would need a referee, usually someone who has a current account, to sign a reference form for you. Banks also give you a unique Bank Verification Number (BVN) which you will always use regardless of how many banks you have accounts with. Make sure you also fill all the forms for your ATM Card (debit cards), internet banking and bank alerts. Bank alerts are a few message services which allows the bank to send you messages whenever you get a debit or credit on your account.

Bank loans and mortgages

It’s probably easier to get a personal loan from a bank in Nigeria if you have a steady income and work in a reputable organisation. Interest rates range between 23% and 28% per annum. They also get to charge you fees of about 2% including insurance fees. Banks usually don’t ask for collateral for personal loans. All they need is a letter from you acceding to domicile your salary account with them. They will also need you to sign other covenants.

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If you do not have a steady income stream and work in a reputable organisation (like a corporation or multi-national company), getting a loan from a bank is nearly impossible. Your best bet might be to get a loan from microfinance banks and microlending institutions. However, be ready to pay interest rates of 5% per month and deposit your cars, houses and/or guarantee from a referee. Micro-lending companies give out loans very fast, sometimes within a week loans can be disbursed if you have the right requirements.

Looking for a mortgage? Well, that’s nearly impossible in Nigeria. If you are lucky to get one, be ready to pay 20% plus interest rates and with between 10 years to 20 years to repay. Some real estate companies offer off plan leases, where you get to pay a part of a property being developed at a discount and allowed to spread the balance over the duration of the construction. Some also partner with mortgage financial institutions to sell mortgages but the rates are high and tenors hardly ever exceed 5 years.

Funds transfer

Nigeria’s financial system is surprisingly well advanced when it comes to fund transfers. You can transfer funds to just about any bank from your mobile phone and it will hit the receiver in seconds. Online banking transfers are also very possible and quite reliable. You might face challenges with payments that don’t get delivered despite your accounts been debited. Sometimes it gets reversed almost immediately and in those rare occasions it doesn’t. You might need to get used to calling customer care to get issues resolved. We observed banks and indeed service providers from other industries respond faster to complaints on social media.

Medical

In case you didn’t know, Nigeria as a health insurance scheme. Not the best in the world but it sure works.  To get one, go online and search for any of the registered Health Maintenance Organisations. They are the ones licensed to sell you the insurance. Once you buy from them, they give you access to any of their partner hospitals where you can visit whenever you have health issues. Health insurance cost as little as N40k for basic services. This is important considering that mosquito bites are nearly inevitable.

Getting a job

One of the things you probably hope to achieve by being back is to get a good job in your home country. Jobs are hard to find here no matter where you went to school.  You might find it easier to get a job in the financial sector of you have a financial background or a consulting firm. Make sure you have the right certifications as MBAs and MSCs no longer have the advantages they used to have. How you package yourself really matter. Know when to use an accent, especially if it is acquired. Accent probably helps in job interviews if you can match it with the right responses and open display of knowledge in subject matters.The easiest way to get a job is via referrals. Job sites send you loads of job offers but it’s hard to get a good job there. Spend time connecting on LinkedIn to know the people who matter. Before you go for an interview make sure you conduct proper research, not just on the company but on the industry. Also try to relate the industry with an experience from where you are coming from and show it as an advantage. Be very conversant with the Nigerian economy and please don’t be cocky. Sometimes, it is better to start from somewhere, even if it is small. Trust me, you don’t want to be idle in this town.

Taxes and deductions

Nigeria operates a somewhat complicated tax system called Pay as You Earn. Taxes are deducted monthly by your employees and paid to the state inland revenue service.

If your salary is between N12m and N21m per annum expect to pay an average of 15% of that as tax. If you earn above N21m then you should be looking at 16% per annum. Salaries between N5m and N10m per annum range between 12% and 14% per annum.

Nigeria also has a pension scheme that requires 8% of your gross salary to be deducted by your employees and stashed away as pension contributions. Your employer also contributes 10% of the gross amount for you.

In Nigeria, salaries are paid in Naira except you are employed as an expat.

Utility Bill

In Nigeria we have, electricity bills, internet data bundles, cable tv bills and waste bills. If you live in fully services estates, you might get all these bills (except cable) as one bill. Some service estates charge between N40k to N120k a month for these services. If you live on your own, then be ready to pay your electricity bills to the power distribution company (discos) within your region. In Lagos, we have Eko and Ikeja distribution companies. Electricity bills can be very annoying if you do not have a meter as you will be estimated and might be subject to what we call “crazy bills”. Discos typically have their employees move around with ladders to disconnect customers who do not pay their bills.

Internet service in Nigeria is mostly sold in bundles. You can pay as much as N10k for 20GB of data. Some services offer unlimited bundles but with a data cap of 80gb before terms and conditions apply. Internet is not as fast as what you have in the US or Europe but is good enough to get you to browse. You can also get internet on your mobile phone and use it as a hotspot for your laptop or tablets.

Unskilled labour

This is one problem you will have to get used to. From mechanics to painters, to drivers to house helps, unskilled labour is cheap in Nigeria. However, this comes at a significant cost too as their services are quite poor. Be ready to spend time and energy at mechanic workshops and still see your cars come out worse than before. You might change house helps up to 3 times a year depending on your tolerance level. It often takes a lot of luck to get the right artisan or unskilled labour to keep you from running mad. You just must be patient and learn not to expect too.

Doing business

We are sure you may have learned by now that it is not easy doing business in Nigeria. Your clients can delay your payments for months without any compensation or interest for loss of time. And when they eventually get to pay, rogue employees may ask for kickbacks, otherwise they won’t give you the job again. Suppliers can also be a pain in the butt and often delay you from meeting deliveries on time.

Should you decide to go into partnerships then, be ready to get disappointed and frustrated. Agreements are easily breached and the legal system is not just equipped enough to settle all disputes. Try as much as possible to avoid going into partnerships.

When you lend someone money just assume it is lost. This might seem hard but it’s better to assume the worst can happen to avoid getting a heart-break. The police have a lot on their plate and might advice you to leave the “matter to God”. If they are “kind enough” to help then be ready to be kind enough to support them with some money for “logistics”.

Do you need further assistance? Send us an email [email protected]

 

Patricia

Nairametrics is Nigeria's top business news and financial analysis website. We focus on providing resources that help small businesses and retail investors make better investing decisions. Nairametrics is updated daily by a team of professionals. Post updated as "Nairametrics" are published by our Editorial Board.

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Coronavirus

COVID-19 Update in Nigeria

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria bringing the total confirmed cases recorded in the country to 29,286.

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The spread of novel Corona Virus Disease (COVID-19) in Nigeria continue to record significant increase as the latest statistics provided by the Nigeria Centre for Disease Control reveal Nigeria now has 29,286 confirmed cases.

On the 6th of July 2020, 575 new confirmed cases and 9 deaths were recorded in Nigeria, having carried out a total daily test of 1,831 samples across the country.

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To date, 29,286 cases have been confirmed, 11,828 cases have been discharged and 654 deaths have been recorded in 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory. A total of 152,952 tests have been carried out as of July 6th, 2020 compared to 151,121 tests a day earlier.

COVID-19 Case Updates- 6th July 2020

  • Total Number of Cases – 29,286
  • Total Number Discharged – 11,828
  • Total Deaths – 654
  • Total Tests Carried out – 152,952

According to the NCDC, the 575 new cases were reported from 20 states- Lagos (123), FCT (100), Delta (58), Edo (52), Ogun (42), Katsina (24), Bayelsa (23), Rivers (22), Borno (19), Plateau (18), Ondo (18), Oyo (17), Kwara (15), Osun (13), Enugu (9), Nasarawa  (7), Abia (6), Cross River (5), Kaduna (3), Ekiti (1).

Meanwhile, the latest numbers bring Lagos state total confirmed cases to 11,367, followed by Abuja (2,281), Oyo (1,530), Edo (1,435), Delta (1,285), Kano (1,268), Rivers (1,205), Ogun (1,047),  Kaduna (868), Katsina (628), Borno (547), Gombe (520), Bauchi (516), Ebonyi (503), Ondo (474), Plateau (454), Abia (391), Enugu (381), Imo (352), Jigawa (318).

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Kwara state has recorded 284 cases, Bayelsa (268), Nasarawa (232), Osun (178), Sokoto (153),  Niger (122), Akwa Ibom (112), Adamawa (99), Benue (97), Kebbi (84), Zamfara (76), Anambra (73), Yobe (61), Ekiti (45), Taraba (22), while Kogi state has recorded 5 cases.

 

READ ALSO: COVID-19: Western diplomats warn of disease explosion, poor handling by government

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Lock Down and Curfew

In a move to combat the spread of the pandemic disease, President Muhammadu Buhari directed the cessation of all movements in Lagos and the FCT for an initial period of 14 days, which took effect from 11 pm on Monday, 30th March 2020.

The movement restriction, which was extended by another two-weeks period, has been partially put on hold with some businesses commencing operations from May 4. On April 27th, 2020, Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari declared an overnight curfew from 8 pm to 6 am across the country, as part of new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19. This comes along with the phased and gradual easing of lockdown measures in FCT, Lagos, and Ogun States, which took effect from Saturday, 2nd May 2020, at 9 am.

On Monday, 29th June 2020 the federal government extended the second phase of the eased lockdown by 4 weeks and approved interstate movement outside curfew hours with effect from July 1, 2020.

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READ ALSO: Bill Gates says Trump’s WHO funding suspension is dangerous

DateConfirmed caseNew casesTotal deathsNew deathsTotal recoveryActive casesCritical cases
July 6, 202029286575654911828168047
July 5, 2020287115446451111665164017
July 4, 202028167603634611462160717
July 3, 2020275644546281211069158677
July 2, 2020271106266161310801156937
July 1, 2020264847906031310152157297
June 30, 202025694561590179746153587
June 29, 20202513356657389402151587
June 28, 20202486749056579007149957
June 27, 20202407777955848625148947
June 26, 20202329868455458253144917
June 25, 20202261459454977822142437
June 24, 20202202064954297613138657
June 23, 20202137145253387338135007
June 22, 20202091967552577109132857
June 21, 202020242436518126879128477
June 20, 202019808661506196718125847
June 19, 202019147667487126581120797
June 18, 20201848074547566307116987
June 17, 202017735587469145967112997
June 16, 202017148490455315623110707
June 15, 20201665857342445349108857
June 14, 202016085403420135220104457
June 13, 20201568250140785101101747
June 12, 20201518162739912489198917
June 11, 2020145546813875449496737
June 10, 20201387340938217435191407
June 9, 2020134646633654420688937
June 8, 2020128013153617404084007
June 7, 20201248626035412395981737
June 6, 2020122333893429382680657
June 5, 20201184432833310369678157
June 4, 2020115163503238353576467
June 3, 2020111663483151332975227
June 2, 20201081924131415323972667
June 1, 20201057841629912312271579
May 31, 20201016230728714300768687
May 30, 2020985555327312285667267
May 29, 202093023872612269763447
May 28, 202089151822595259260647
May 27, 202087333892545250159787
May 26, 2020834427624916238557107
May 25, 202080682292337231155247
May 24, 202078393132265226353607
May 23, 202075262652210217451317
May 22, 2020726124522110200750337
May 21, 2020701633921111190748987
May 20, 202066772842008184046377
May 19, 202064012261921173444757
May 18, 202061752161919164443407
May 17, 202059593881826159441837
May 16, 202056211761765147239737
May 15, 202054452881713132039544
May 14, 202051621931683118038154
May 13, 202049711841646107037374
May 12, 20204787146158695936704
May 11, 202046412421521090235894
May 10, 202043992481421777834794
May 9, 202041512391271174532784
May 8, 202039123861181067931154
May 7, 20203526381108460128184
May 6, 20203145195104553425071
May 5, 2020295014899548123704
May 4, 2020280224594641722912
May 3, 2020255817088240020702
May 2, 20202388220861735119522
May 1, 20202170238691035117512
April 30, 2020193220459731715562
April 29, 2020172819652730713692
April 28, 2020153219545425512322
April 27, 20201337644102559942
April 26, 20201273914152399942
April 25, 20201182873632229252
April 24, 202010951143312088552
April 23, 20209811083231977532
April 22, 2020873912931976482
April 21, 20207821172631975602
April 20, 2020665382311884662
April 19, 2020627862221704362
April 18, 2020541482021663562
April 17, 2020493511841593172
April 16, 2020442351311522772
April 15, 2020407341211282672
April 14, 202037330111992632
April 13, 202034320100912422
April 12, 20203235100852282
April 11, 202031813103702382
April 10, 20203051770582402
April 9, 20202881471512302
April 8, 20202742260442262
April 7, 20202541661442042
April 6, 2020238650351982
April 5, 20202321851331942
April 4, 2020214540251850
April 3, 20202092542251800
April 2, 20201841020201620
April 1, 2020174352091630
March 31, 202013982091280
March 30, 2020131202181210
March 29, 2020111221031070
March 28, 20208919103850
March 27, 2020705103660
March 26, 20206514102620
March 25, 2020517102480
March 24, 2020444102410
March 23, 20204010112370
March 22, 2020308002280
March 21, 20202210001210
March 20, 2020124001110
March 19, 20208000170
March 18, 20208500170
March 17, 20203100030
March 16, 20202000020
March 15, 20202000020
March 14, 20202000020
March 13, 20202000020
March 12, 20202000020
March 11, 20202000020
March 10, 20202000020
March 9, 20202100020
March 8, 20201000010
March 7, 20201000010
March 6, 20201000010
March 5, 20201000010
March 4, 20201000010
March 3, 20201000010
March 2, 20201000010
March 1, 20201000010
February 29, 20201000010
February 28, 20201100010

Patricia
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FEATURED

FG to shut Third Mainland Bridge for 6 months  

The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. 

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The FederalThird Mainland Bridge, Housing: Tackling Nigeria’s huge housing deficit, Nigerian roads are not that terrible, Fashola says 

The Federal Government has announced plans to shut down the Third Mainland Bridge for maintenance work from July 24, 2020. 

This was disclosed by the Federal Controller of Works in Lagos, Mr Olukayode Popoola, during an interaction with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Monday July 6, 2020. 

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In the conversation, Popoola said that consultations were on for another phase of repair works to commence on the Third Mainland Bridge. He told the News Agency of Nigeria that the consultations were towards developing a perfect traffic management architecture that will be very efficient and effective. 

According to PopoolaWe want to do maintenance work on Third Mainland Bridge very soon. Most likely on the 24th. We may close it from 24th of July.’’ 

READ ALSO: Update: FG increases fuel price to N143.80 per litre

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“We are still working out the modalities and when we perfect the traffic management plan we will move to site. Everything being expected for the repairs of the bridge arrived the country that is why we want to start the repairs now,’’ 

The 11.8km bridge which has gone through series of rehabilitation works was last closed for repairs in August 2018 for 3 days of investigative maintenance check. 

Thereafter, some components needed for completion of repairs were sourced abroad because they were not available locally. 

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Meanwhile, a monitored report from Channels suggests that the closure might last for a period of 6 months.

READ ALSO: Nigeria to raise N163.32 billion through road concessions programme

There has been reports of some worn-out joints of the bridge, which has raised some serious safety concerns for the users of the bridge. The federal government will be working with the Lagos State Traffic Management Agency (LASTMA) on how best traffic during this period. 

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The Third Mainland Bridge is the longest of three bridges connecting Lagos Island to the mainland. 

The bridge starts from Oworonshoki which is linked to the Apapa-Oshodi Expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway and ends at the Adeniji Adele Interchange on Lagos Island. 

It was opened for use 1990 and was the longest in Africa until 1996 when The 6th October Bridge in Cairo was completed. 

 

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Patricia
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Around the World

FRC orders the Big Four to separate auditing from consulting services

The Big Four firms now reportedly generate the largest portions of their revenues from consultancy services.

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Big Four

The world’s four biggest audit firms —KPMG, PwC, Ernst & Young, and Deloitte — have been directed by the Financial Reporting Council (FRC) to plan towards separating their audit services from their consulting services.

The deadline for compliance with this directive is June 2024.

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A statement that was published on the FRC website said this directive is ‘world-leading’. The statement also explained why it became imperative to separate the firms’ operations towards ensuring that they deliver the uttermost quality audit services for the good of public interest.

By the time the operational separation officially takes effect starting from June 2024, FRC said it would be expecting the following outcomes:

  • That audit practice governance would prioritise audit quality and protect auditors from influences from the rest of the firm that may try to divert their focus away from audit quality.
  • That the total amount of profits distributed to the partners in the audit practice does not persistently exceed the contribution to profits of the audit practice.
  • The culture of the audit practice prioritises high-quality audit by encouraging ethical behaviour, openness, teamwork, challenge and professional scepticism/judgement.
  • Auditors act in the public interest and work for the benefit of shareholders of audited entities and wider society.

While commenting on this development, FRC’s Chief Executive Officer, Sir Jon Thompson, said the FRC is committed to reforms on how corporate finances are reported. Further aspects of the reform package will be introduced over time, he said.

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“Operational separation of audit practices is one element of the FRC’s strategy to improve the quality and effectiveness of corporate reporting and audit in the United Kingdom following the Kingman, CMA and Brydon reviews. Today the FRC has delivered a major step in the reform of the audit sector by setting principles for operational separation of audit practices from the rest of the firm. The FRC remains fully committed to the broad suite of reform measures on corporate reporting and audit reform and will introduce further aspects of the reform package over time,” Thompson stated.

Do note that the FRC reached this decision after engaging in extensive discussions with the Big Four. It was also agreed that the audit firms will submit an implementation plan to the FRC latest by October 23rd, 2020.

Recall that it was just last week when Nairametrics reported how the Big Four earned the sum of N7.53 billion as audit fees from Nigeria’s most capitalized firms in 2019. Interestingly, these firms now reportedly generate the largest portions of their revenues from consultancy services. As a matter of fact, only about 20% of their revenues now come from auditing fees.

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Patricia
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