There are various requirements for opening a business bank account in Nigeria. To be able to own a business account, the business must be firstly registered in accordance with the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA), which is the principal law that regulates companies in Nigeria.
DOCUMENTS REQUIRED TO OPEN A BUSINESS BANK ACCOUNT IN NIGERIA
The following are the documents required for a business bank account opening:
- Board Resolution authorizing the opening of the account and approving the account signatories.
- Copy of the company certificate and other incorporation documents.
- Completed corporate account opening form signed by the company's designated signatories and the directors of the company.
- Residential address of the directors.
- Passports photograph of the signatories.
- Bank Verification Number of signatories of directors
- Valid identification of the directors such as international passport, driver's license, etc.
- Tax Identification Number for the company
- Utility bill of business addresses such as the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN), water bill, Lagos Waste Management Authority (LAWMA), etc.
- Evidence of Special Control Unit Against Money Laundering (SCUML) registration for companies categorize as DNFI.
- Work permit for foreigner
- Two reference forms by corporate account holders.
FOREIGN COMPANY OPENING A BANK ACCOUNT IN NIGERIA
Under the Nigerian banking regulations, only a company duly registered in Nigeria can open a bank account in Nigeria. Consequently, a foreign company is not entitled to open a business bank in Nigeria unless it has been registered in Nigeria.
Therefore, it is mandatory for a business to be duly registered.
REQUIREMENTS FOR COMPANY REGISTERATION IN NIGERIA
- Reservation of the proposed company's name with the Corporate Affairs Commission.
- The objectives or functions of the company to be provided.
- The share capital and shareholding formula among shareholders will be required.
- A minimum of two directors and two shareholders.
- Particulars of the company secretary (one of the directors may also act as the Secretary of the company)
- The directors and shareholders will be required to furnish details of the shareholders of the company. Details such as names, occupation, residential address, email address, mobile phone number and means of identification such as driver's license, international passport or national identity card.
- Company incorporation certificate where an existing company, either registered in Nigeria or overseas, is to be among the shareholders.
- Company resolution authorizing opening of a subsidiary where an existing company will be the parent company.
The directors listed can also double as the shareholders in the company if desired.
WORK PERMIT FOR FOREIGNER SIGNATORIES TO THE ACCOUNT
Registering a company is not enough to automatically be eligible to become a signatory to any Nigerian bank account. It is only a person having a Nigerian work permit or Nigerian citizen that can become a signatory to a bank account in Nigeria.
Any foreigners seeking to become a signatory to any bank account in Nigeria must obtain the Nigerian work permit otherwise called the Combined Expatriate Residence Permit and Aliens Card (CERPAC).
Upon the company registration, such a company will be entitled to apply for a Business Permit and Expatriate Quota, which would enable the company to bring a foreign worker to Nigeria. It is the Expatriate Quota together with the other requirements that a foreigner seeking to come and work in Nigeria can be used to obtain the Nigerian work permit upon the arrival of the expatriate to the country with the STR Visa. The foreigner having valid Nigerian work permit shall then be eligible to become a signatory to any Nigerian bank account.
OPENING NIGERIA BANK ACCOUNT BY FOREIGN SUBSDIARY COMPANY THROUGH APPOINTEE OR EMPLOYEE
There are circumstances that can necessitate a foreign subsidiary company newly registered in Nigeria to want to open a bank account when its foreign director or worker is yet to obtain a Nigerian work permit. This situation could include urgent business requirements. In this circumstance, a foreign owned company may seek to employ a Nigerian citizen in full or nominee or temporary capacity that can help to open the bank account immediately after the company registration.
The company, through their board resolution can authorize any person to be a signatory to a Nigerian bank account.
A foreign-owned company seeking to employ a Nigerian should consult with their local attorney to ensure a due diligence or background check is carried out in respect of the local person to act as a signatory to the local bank account.
Finally, the Nigerian banking regulations are very strict. The requirements to open a business bank account in Nigeria must strictly be complied with before any business bank account can be opened in Nigeria.
Most Nigerian tier one banks are very formidable and highly capitalized, some of the Nigerian best and most reliable banks include the Zenith Bank Nigeria PLC, the Guaranty Trust Bank PLC, Access Bank PLC among other.
Originally published 03 August, 2020
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.