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Top 7 Best Nigeria Expat Benefits in 2023

Expatriate life in Nigeria offers a diverse and vibrant experience, filled with unique opportunities and challenges.

Understanding Nigeria expat benefits is crucial for a smooth transition and comfortable living. Housing, as one of the primary concerns for expatriates, stands at the forefront of these benefits.

This blog will explore the various housing and accommodation benefits that expatriates can expect when moving to Nigeria, highlighting the current real estate trends and providing practical tips for finding suitable housing.

If you want to invest as an expat or high-net-worth individual, which is what i specialize in, you can email me (advice@adamfayed.com) or use WhatsApp (+44-7393-450-837).

1. Housing and Accommodation in Nigeria Expat Benefits

Types of Housing Options for Expats

Expatriates in Nigeria have access to a range of housing options, from fully-furnished to completely unfurnished properties.

For those employed by companies that provide housing, furnished accommodations are commonly offered, eliminating the need for extensive shipping of personal goods. The choice of housing greatly depends on personal preferences, family size, and budget considerations.

Company-Provided vs. Self-Arranged Accommodations

The decision between company-provided and self-arranged accommodations is significant. Company-provided housing often ensures convenience and security, as these properties are usually located in expat-friendly areas and come with essential amenities.

On the other hand, self-arranged accommodations offer more flexibility and the opportunity to choose a location that aligns closely with personal lifestyle preferences.

Tips for Finding Suitable Housing in Nigeria

Finding suitable housing in Nigeria requires understanding the local real estate market. Expatriates should consider factors like proximity to work, security, access to international schools (if applicable), and local amenities.

Engaging a reputable real estate agent can be invaluable in navigating this process, especially for those unfamiliar with the local market.

Understanding Local Real Estate Market Trends

The Nigerian real estate market is dynamic, with an increasing demand for affordable housing, particularly in urban areas.

The commitment to providing green and affordable housing is evident in initiatives like the Abuja Declaration.

Notably, vacancy rates vary significantly across different areas, such as Surulere, Ikeja GRA, Oniru in Lagos, and Wuse 2, Utako, and Gwarimpa in Abuja. Expatriates often prefer neighborhoods like Victoria Island, Ikoyi, Apapa, and Ikeja in Lagos for a more relaxed and safer living experience.

nigeria expat benefits
Expatriates in Nigeria have access to a range of housing options, from fully-furnished to completely unfurnished properties

2. Healthcare Facilities in Nigeria

Nigeria’s healthcare system presents significant challenges, particularly for expatriates. The public healthcare system, regulated at federal, state, and local levels, includes teaching hospitals, general hospitals, and local dispensaries.

However, it suffers from underfunding, resulting in few qualified doctors and limited resources. Most state funding for medical care concentrates on urban areas, leaving rural regions neglected.

Consequently, expatriates in Nigeria usually only access private hospitals. Private healthcare, while generally better than public options, may still lack the comforts and standards found in more developed countries.

While some private medical facilities maintain a decent standard of care with well-trained doctors and nurses, their capacity to diagnose and treat complex medical problems can be limited.

For serious medical treatment, expatriates often consider traveling to countries like South Africa or Europe. For routine check-ups and minor issues, private clinics in urban areas like Lagos are satisfactory.

Access to International Health Insurance Plans

In Nigeria, healthcare payments are generally expected in cash upfront. This underscores the importance of private health insurance for expatriates, which is crucial for covering potential emergency evacuations. Such insurance is often a part of employment contracts for expatriates.

The cost of private treatment can escalate quickly, so ensuring adequate coverage for any eventuality is essential.

Pharmacies in Nigeria might not stock many drugs expatriates are accustomed to. Therefore, expatriates are advised to bring a substantial supply of any required prescription medication, along with the prescription itself.

Nigerian Healthcare System

Understanding the Nigerian healthcare system is crucial for expatriates. Awareness of available healthcare services, local health risks, and necessary vaccinations is essential for a safe stay in Nigeria.

The country faces challenges with diseases such as malaria, typhoid, cholera, and yellow fever. Malaria is particularly concerning, and expatriates are often divided over taking malaria prophylaxes due to their side effects and potential to mask malaria symptoms.

Immediate consultation with a medical practitioner is recommended if any symptoms arise. Additionally, tap water should not be consumed due to the risk of water-borne diseases.

Vaccinations recommended before traveling to Nigeria include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Measles, Meningitis, Polio, Rubella, Typhoid, and Yellow fever.

It’s crucial to ensure all routine vaccinations are up-to-date and consult a medical professional for further advice.

Expatriates should take preventive health measures seriously. This includes using mosquito nets, covering arms and legs to prevent mosquito bites, fumigating homes biannually, and avoiding tap water.

3. Education and Schooling for Expatriate Children

Nigeria offers a range of international school options, especially in major urban centers like Abuja and Lagos.

These schools typically follow British, American, or International Baccalaureate curricula, providing high-quality education with state-of-the-art facilities and a diverse range of extra-curricular activities.

However, rural areas may not have such provisions, and expatriates in these locations might consider homeschooling or boarding schools.

Nigeria’s public school system, which is compulsory for nine years starting at age six, is underfunded and often lacks basic facilities and materials.

Due to these limitations, many expatriates opt for private international schools for their children. These schools generally provide better educational standards and resources compared to state-sponsored schools.

Cultural Adaptation in Education for Expatriate Kids

For expatriate children, adapting to the cultural environment of Nigerian international schools is an integral part of their educational experience.

These schools often host a diverse student population, providing a multicultural environment that can be both challenging and enriching. Parents should support their children in embracing the diverse cultural aspects of their new school environment.

Education Allowances and Subsidies

Expatriate parents should be aware of the costs associated with international schooling in Nigeria. These include high tuition fees, uniforms, textbooks, extra-curricular activities, and transport costs.

Negotiating education subsidies and allowances with employers can help manage these expenses. Special-needs education in Nigeria is evolving, with efforts to integrate it into regular classrooms.

However, most schools for students with disabilities remain separate. International schools usually offer the best facilities and support for special needs, but the extent of services varies, so direct contact with schools for detailed information is advisable.

Homeschooling is an option for expatriates, especially those on short-term contracts or preferring to keep their children out of the Nigerian school system. While not heavily regulated, homeschooling and distance learning are becoming more popular.

Researching various curricula and connecting with the homeschooling community can provide valuable support and resources.

For additional academic support, parents can hire private tutors, available through tutoring companies in major cities or online portals. This can be particularly beneficial for exam preparation and personalized learning.

4. Taxation Benefits for Expatriates

Understanding the taxation system is another critical aspect of Nigeria expat benefits. In Nigeria, resident individuals are taxable on their worldwide income.

However, non-resident individuals are only liable to tax in Nigeria for employment duties performed wholly or partly within the country.

This liability depends on various conditions, such as the employer’s location and whether the remuneration is subject to tax in another country under a double taxation treaty (DTT).

Tax Exemptions and Relief for Expatriates

Foreign persons earning business profits in Nigeria are subject to taxation once a fixed base or taxable presence is established, in line with the PIT Act.

There are significant economic presence (SEP) rules that apply to non-resident individuals providing services in Nigeria.

However, the Ministry of Finance has yet to define what constitutes SEP for this purpose. Given the complexities of the tax system, it is advisable for expatriates in Nigeria to seek professional tax advice. This ensures compliance with local laws and optimization of tax benefits.

nigeria expat benefits
Nigeria’s healthcare system presents significant challenges, particularly for expatriates.

Double Taxation Agreements and Their Benefits

Nigeria has double taxation agreements with several countries, which can provide tax relief for expatriates. These agreements ensure that expatriates don’t pay tax on the same income in two different countries.

The Nigerian tax system includes different tax bands, with rates varying from 7% to 24% depending on the income level. Notably, employees earning not more than the national minimum wage are exempt from tax.

There’s also a provision for a minimum tax rate of 1% of the total income in cases where personal reliefs and allowances reduce taxable income below a certain threshold. Additionally, termination benefits above NGN 10 million are subject to capital gains tax.

5. Transportation and Travel Concessions

Navigating transportation in Nigeria is a critical aspect of the Nigeria expat benefits package. Most companies provide their expatriate employees with a car and a driver, recognizing the challenges of driving in Nigeria.

While expatriates can drive with their national driver’s license for up to three months and an international driver’s license for up to a year, most prefer to employ professional drivers.

This preference arises from the need to navigate congested traffic in urban centers, where congestion can last for hours, prompting some commuters to leave home as early as 4 am to avoid it.

Public transport options in Nigeria, including buses and intercity services, are generally deemed unsafe and unreliable for expats.

Safety concerns stem from poor vehicle maintenance and low driving standards. Despite the availability of bus services in cities and intercity routes, these are not recommended for expats due to the associated safety risks.

Exploring Nigeria: Travel Benefits and Allowances

When discussing Nigeria expat benefits, exploring the country presents exciting opportunities, but also demands caution.

Rail transport, including the developing Abuja Light Rail, offers connectivity to key locations but requires expats to stay updated on train schedules and safety regulations.

Taxis in Nigerian cities provide a viable transport option, with options for metered or fixed fares and the availability of ride-hailing services like Uber in major cities.

However, it’s advisable to confirm fares before embarking on journeys. Motorbike taxis (okadas) and auto rickshaws (kekes) offer fast and affordable travel within cities, but their safety cannot be guaranteed.

In some cities, these modes of transport face operational bans or regulations. For intercity travel, air travel is the safest and most efficient mode due to Nigeria’s vast size and various safety concerns.

Key airports like Murtala Muhammed International Airport in Lagos and Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport in Abuja serve as major hubs for international and regional travel. However, expats should carefully choose airlines due to concerns about the reliability of some local Nigerian airlines.

nigeria expat benefits
Navigating transportation in Nigeria is a critical aspect of the Nigeria expat benefits package.

6. Work-Life Balance and Cultural Integration

Adapting to Nigerian work culture is a vital element of the Nigeria expat benefits. Nigeria’s diverse and mostly welcoming business environment, home to over 250 ethnic groups and numerous foreign-owned companies, requires expats to be highly flexible and patient.

A common challenge is the relaxed pace of business operations, exemplified by the phrase “hurry up and wait,” where meetings scheduled for a particular time may happen much later, if at all.

This relaxed pace may not apply to all companies, but it necessitates a high level of adaptability from expatriates. In a typical Nigerian organization, daily warm and personal greetings are customary, reflecting the importance of interpersonal relationships in the workplace.

This cultural trait underscores the value placed on social interactions and personal well-being within the Nigerian work context.

Social Opportunities and Networking for Expats

The Nigeria expat benefits extend to social opportunities and networking. Nigeria, with its large expat communities from various nationalities, offers a rich social environment for expatriates.

Platforms like InterNations provide avenues for expats to network, socialize, and attend online and in-person events, fostering connections among global-minded individuals.

These communities, comprising people from diverse backgrounds, including Britons, Americans, East Indians, Japanese, Greeks, and others, contribute significantly to Nigeria’s expat life.

They offer a unique opportunity for cultural exchange and professional networking, essential for an enriching expatriate experience.

7. Security Measures in Expat Living Areas

Expatriates in Nigeria must remain vigilant due to the increasing insecurity across the country. The threat of kidnapping, violent crime, and inter-communal violence is prevalent in all regions, with specific regions facing heightened risks from terrorism and militant groups.

In larger cities, violent crimes such as mugging, kidnapping, car-jacking, and armed robberies are common.

Despite these crimes not specifically targeting foreign nationals, expats should exercise caution and heed security advice from hotels, employers, or hosts to avoid being caught in such incidents.

The Niger Delta region, known for its oil and gas infrastructure, sees active militant groups and a high risk of armed robbery and criminal kidnap.

Similarly, the outer suburbs of Abuja within the Federal Capital Territory are prone to violence, often involving firearms, with crime spreading to more central and wealthier areas.

Banditry and violent attacks, including a high threat of kidnap, are frequent in the North West region of Nigeria.

Access to Emergency Services and Support

Nigeria’s emergency services face challenges, particularly in regions with high threats of terrorist and criminal kidnaps.

Expatriates engaged in tourism, humanitarian aid work, journalism, or business are considered legitimate targets, and the presence of an expat, regardless of their reason for being in the country, may not protect or secure their release if kidnapped.

Criminal kidnap risks are heightened in specific parts of the country, such as the northern and middle belt states, Niger Delta states, and Edo State.

The nature of these kidnappings varies, targeting both communities and individuals, sometimes along major highways like the Abuja – Kaduna highway and the Enugu-Awka-Onitsha expressway in Anambra.

Local Safety Advisories

To stay safe, expatriates should remain informed about local safety advisories. Being vigilant, especially in crowded public places or at events attracting large crowds, is crucial.

Expats must keep themselves updated on developments and avoid threatening situations by moving to safety if encountered. Compliance with curfews and movement restrictions, which can be imposed or lifted at short notice, is essential to avoid significant risks.

Additionally, staying updated on telecommunication service statuses, as operators in Nigeria have previously suspended services in certain areas, is important for maintaining communication in emergencies.

Building a Personal Safety Plan

Building a personal safety plan is a vital aspect of Nigeria expat benefits. This involves being cautious at all times, even when staying with friends or family, and following security guidance from employers or hosts.

Limiting road travel at night, avoiding quiet and poorly lit roads, being vigilant in traffic jams or at traffic lights, and keeping car windows up and doors locked are all part of a robust safety plan.

nigeria expat benefits
Adapting to Nigerian work culture is a vital element of the Nigeria expat benefits

Being aware of vehicle checkpoints, some of which are unauthorized, and using common sense in such situations is also advised.

Where possible, using public transport offered by major hotels, which tend to be safer than local options, is recommended.

Conclusion

In conclusion, understanding and utilizing Nigeria expat benefits effectively can greatly enhance the safety and security of expatriates living in Nigeria.

Despite the challenges posed by the security situation, expatriates can navigate these with caution and informed strategies. Embracing the opportunities and facing the challenges with a well-prepared approach is crucial for a fulfilling expatriate experience in Nigeria.

Pained by financial indecision? Want to invest with Adam?

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Adam is an internationally recognised author on financial matters, with over 735.2 million answer views on Quora.com, a widely sold book on Amazon, and a contributor on Forbes.

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