Business in Niger

economy

Niger is constantly plagued by cycles of drought, desertification and an unmanageable population growth rate. The main income was derived by the uranium mines until the demand was reduced leading to a serious undercut of the economy. Recently the uranium prices have been restored but the damage has not been balanced yet.

In 2000 Niger qualified for a debt relief and in 2005 86 million dollars in debt to the IMF were forgiven. However, almost half the revenue for the Nigerien government is still derived from donations from foreign sources. For the economy to flourish taking advantage of oil, gold, coal and other mineral resources will be required.

exports

The major source of income for Niger is mining:

a) Uranium from the two major uranium mines of SOMAIR (open pit) and COMINAK (underground). Licenses have been sold to companies from India, China, Australia and Canada to exploit new deposits.

b) Gold from the Samira Hill Gold Mine. It is estimated that this gold mine will exhaust the deposits in six years. Other deposits of gold have also been located to what is called the “Samira Horizon”.

c) Oil from the Tintouma oil field in Madama. The rights for this oil field have been granted to the Chinese company CNPC in exchange for a $5 billion investment. It is estimated that this field will provide 324 million barrels and 10 billion cubic meters of natural gas. It is also believed that further oil deposits are located in the Tenere Desert as well as near Bilma.

Other mining deposits include coal, iron, limestone, gypsum and phosphates.

The second source of income from exports is raw agricultural commodities like foodstuffs and cattle (including hides and skins), cowpeas, onions, garlic, peppers, potatoes and wheat.

imports

Niger has no heavy industry therefore, it requires imports of consumer goods, machinery, vehicles, spare parts, primary materials, petroleum produces and cereals. The main trade partners in this are France, the U.S., Nigeria, Ivory Coast and the countries of the Benelux. The import trade is estimated at 300 million dollars per year.

Niger also needs to import electrical power as its own production is insufficient. It is estimated that this need amounts to an average of 250 GWh per year.

open-a-company

First of all you need to formulate to company bylaws. It is best to do it with a notary (optional) to make sure that the document complies with the legalisms of Niger. The document must also include a declaration of the initial capital and a receipt for the payment of the fee which is 3% of the capital.

The next step is to deposit the capital at a bank or with a notary and obtain a receipt.

Step #3 is the registration of the statutes to the Services of the Taxes and the Registry. The cost is a fixed sum of XOF 6,000 plus XOF 1.500 for the duty stamps.

Then all documents have to be filed with the Commercial Registry at the Greffe du Tribunal. Cost:

  1. Registration stamp duty: XOF 1,500
  2. Registration certificate and signature stamp duty: XOF 10,000
  3. Services of the one-stop shop: XOF 5,000

The formation notice of the company must be published at the Journal d’annonces légales de la Chambre de Commerce. Cost: XOF 50,000.

The final step is to register with the tax authorities, the social security and the labor agency at the CFE to obtain the identification number (NIF). Cost: XOF 7,500.

opening-an-account

Here is a list of the available commercial banks in Niger:

  1. Bank of Africa Niger
  2. Banque Atlantique Niger
  3. Banque Régionale de Solidarité Niger
  4. Banque Sahélo-Saharienne pour l’Investissement et le Commerce (BSSIC)
  5. Ecobank Niger
  6. Crédit du Niger
  7. Banque Internationale pour l’Afrique au Niger
  8. Banque Commerciale du Niger
  9. Banque Islamique du Niger pour le Commerce et l’Investissement
  10. Société Nigérienne de Banque

Each of them has its own rules about opening an account. It would be best if each one was contacted separately to receive instructions.

local-companies

Nigelec is the state company producing and transmitting electrical power.

Sonitel is the state carrier for telecommunications. In 2001 it was privatized but returned under government control in 2009.

Sonidep is the company responsible for handling all petroleum products. It also owns all the gas stations in Niger.

SNTV or Sociéte Nigerienne de Transports de Voyageurs is the state company that handles public transportation.

Dounia TV (Radio Télévision Dounia) is the privately owned press and radio-television company. It is the only rival to the stately owned Télé-Sahel which also operates the Radio Voix du Sahel and the satellite station TAL TV. All three of the stately owned TV and Radio stations belong to the Office of Radio and Television of Niger which is controlled by the ministry of Culture, Arts and Communication.

Escadrille Nationale du Niger is the national Nigerien airline based at Diori Hamani International Airport. Its IATA branch is Air Niamey which is now beginning to operate regular flights along with its charter ones.

foreign-companies

The French consortium of companies Areva owns and operates the two uranium mines. Part of the gold mines has been purchased by SEMAFO a Candian based company.  The Chinese CNPC has been awarded the rights to the oil wells, production and construction of pipelines. There are other companies operating in Niger based on the neighboring Nigeria and Burgina Faso.

At this time the government of Niger is revising the foreign investment code to make it more attractive to foreign investors. This is a decision taken after several attempts to privatize stately owned companies failed due to lack of interest.

taxes
Tax
Percentage
Application
Corporate Income 30% Taxable profit
Social Security 16.40% Gross Salaries
Real Estate 1.5% Property value
Tax on interest 15% Interest income
Insurance 12% or 36% Insurance premium
Vehicle Variable Fee depending on the type of vehicle
Capital gains 15% Capital gains
Stamp duty on contracts XOF 1,500 Per page
V.A.T. 19% Value added