FACILITATING IMPORTATION OF SOLAR ENERGY PRODUCTS INTO NIGERIA (A Case Study of NAPS Solar Systems Oy)

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ABSTRACT

The primary aim of this research work is to provide a detailed description of the importation procedure as it obtains in Nigeria. Throughout this work, direct effort has been made and all attention has been focused on exposing the Finnish Small and Medium Enterprises in the re-newable energy production industry to the existing opportunities in Nigeria. Although there are various renewable energy sources that are readily available in the country, this thesis has concentrated on Solar Photo-Voltaic energy, which is the most abundant of them.

This research work has been done as part of the CONNECT project. Since the project aims at co-creating new networks and partnership for Finnish renewable energy SMEs seeking to trade their products in the emerging markets, the author of this thesis has chosen to research an area of concern for the CONNECT project team, i.e. what are the requirements for a success-ful importation of solar energy products into Nigeria. Therefore the analyses, results and con-clusion that are provided in this thesis are centered on the need for adequate exposure of the Finnish SMEs to practical knowledge of international trade with particular reference to Nige-ria.

This thesis has clearly explained the practical steps to be taken in international trade, and also shown what Finnish solar energy SMEs should expect, who the major stakeholders in Nige-ria are, and what preparations have been made by these stakeholders in order to encourage and ease the burden associated with importation into Nigeria. The research has also pointed out on the other hand, the risks involved in international trade and ways to reduce them. Fur-thermore, various means of transportation used in international trade have been discussed in detail, while suitable means of transporting solar energy products between Finland and Nige-ria were highlighted.

Key words:

Renewable energy, SMEs, International trade, Importation, Exportation, Solar, Photo - Voltaic, Emerging markets, Nigeria, Finland.


TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Introduction
            1.1 Background
            1.2 Knowledge base of the research
            1.3 Research problem and research question
            1.4 Objectives, scope and limitation

2 Approach and methodology
            2.1 Research approach
            2.2 Research methods
                        2.2.1 Quantitative versus qualitative research method
                        2.2.2 Qualitative interviews
            2.3 Data collection
                        2.3.1 Secondary data source
                        2.3.2 Primary data source

3 The case company
            3.1 Products and service overview
                        3.1.1 Batteries
                        3.1.2 Charge controllers
                        3.1.3 Power pack

4 Importation stakeholders
            4.1 Nigerian customs service
            4.2 Standards organization of Nigeria
            4.3 Bankers and insurers
                        4.3.1 International trade financing
                        4.3.2 International trade risks and insurance policies
            4.4 Freight forwarders

5 Nigeria as an export/import destination
            5.1 Brief introduction of Nigeria
            5.2 Political factor
            5.3 Economical factor
            5.4 Social and cultural factor

6 Renewable energy potentials in Nigeria
            6.1 Renewable energy demands
            6.2 Suitability of Solar Photo-Voltaic (PV) energy

7 Importation strategy into Nigeria
            7.1 Market entry strategies
            7.2 Indirect exportation
            7.3 Direct exportation
                        7.3.1 Agents
                        7.3.2 Distributors
                        7.3.3 Franchising
            7.4   Before commencing exportation process
            7.5 International logistics
                        7.5.1 Export documentation
                        7.5.2 Bill of laden
                        7.5.3 Commercial invoice
                        7.5.4 Pro forma invoice
                        7.5.5 Letters of credit
                        7.5.6 Packing list
                        7.5.7 International transportation modes
                        7.5.8 Maritime transportation
                        7.5.9 Air transportation
                        7.5.10 International product packaging and storage
            7.6 Product certification
                        7.6.1 SONCAP
                        7.6.2 Procedure for SONCAP compliance
                        7.6.3 Certificate fees
            7.7   The Importation process explained
                        7.7.1 Import procedures
                        7.7.2 Responsibilities of the importer
                        7.7.3 Responsibilities of the exporter
                        7.7.4 Responsibilities of the carriers
8 Results and conclusion
            8.1 Research findings
            8.2 Conclusion and suggestions
Abbreviations
References
Figures
Tables
Appendices

1       Introduction


The first chapter of this thesis shall provide the reader a preamble to the subject matter. Other sections of this study shall also offer the reader further overview in respect to the sub-ject of this thesis research. In this chapter also, there will be a brief narration of the back-ground work done in the past, knowledge base of the research work, its identified problem questions, objectives, scope and limitation. These shall serve as a foundation for the reader to better understand the theories and other practical steps that are discussed within this work.

1.1     Background

This thesis work has identified an area of concern for the Finnish SMEs in the renewable ener-gy industry who are interested in exporting their products to emerging markets. This area of concern is the simplification of the importation process into their desired country of destina-tion. However this research has chosen to focus on importation processes into Nigeria, cur-rently being the largest economy in Africa. Over the recent decades, Nigeria is has often been the key target country for investment considerations by SMEs in the developed coun-tries.

Though there is still much to do by Finnish SMEs in terms of familiarization with the Nigerian renewable energy market, there is need for developmental work to be done in terms of re-search work on issues such as that of provision of up to date information on

Importation processes. This work can be done by the Connect project team and motivated graduating students in the respective organizing institutions, such as Laurea Universities of Applied Sciences.

1.2     Knowledge base of the research

The subject of this thesis is provided for on the platform of the Connect project which will soon be introduced. The desire to successfully achieve the overall aim of providing a research for possibilities for creation of new kinds of networks for Finnish Small and Medium Enterpris-es, in the field of renewable energy production and services into the emerging markets has led to a number research work been carried out on various aspects of the project.


Therefore this thesis work will serve to improve the information base of renewable energy products exporter to Nigeria by using a combination of academic books references, relevant institutions reports, renewable energy market reports, trends, journals and importation guidelines documentations produced by the Nigerian Customs Service and other related gov-ernment regulatory agencies.

The Connect project as mentioned above is an initiative formed through the strategic part-nership consisting of its research partners, support organizations and Finnish renewable ener-gy SMEs. Its research partners are members of the Federation of Universities of Applied Sci-ences (FUAS), Laurea University of applied sciences (SMEs), Lahti Universities of Applied Sci-ences and HAMK University of applied sciences. It is financed by TEKES – Finnish funding Agency for Technology and Innovation, Groove program- Growth from renewables together with FUAS members. Other partners are the national trade, internationalization and invest-ment development organization in Finland (Finpro) and Finnish renewable energy SMEs.

The CONNECT project which started in January 2012 has a main objective of supporting growth and speeding up internationalization of Finnish renewable energy SMEs to developing countries (CONNECT 2012). It seeks to create a systematic linkage between the Finnish SMEs and their business counterparts or consumers in the emerging markets, in the area of renew-able energy production and services.

A major focus of the connect project that this thesis intends to inherit and develop further is the analysis of energy and renewable energy market in target countries, with Nigeria as a ref-erence country.

These markets exist mostly in the developing countries. Initially the project considered nine African countries and Vietnam. After initial market studies in the renewable energy sectors in these countries, the project owners further decided to focus on Nigeria, Kenya and South Af-rica.

These countries are clearly in the African continent, and a major reason guiding this decision was due to the fact that these countries have the largest population in their respective re-gions. Another reason is that these countries are their regional economic centers.

1.3     Research problem and research question

Nigeria is often the desired target destination of investments and importation in West Africa and Africa as a whole due to its social and economic indices, however its importation rules and guidelines seems to keep changing to meet global best practices. These frequent changes cause difficulties of adaptation and misunderstanding for intending exporters including Finn-ish SMEs in the renewable energy production and exports.

There is therefore need to offer detailed description of importation procedure, thereby mak-ing it simple and understandable in order to encourage exportation of these products into Nigeria. Hence, the research questions that this thesis work seeks to provide answers to are...


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