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Cost of Living in Lagos (And Nigeria)

by | Guides

May 14, 2022

I’ll begin by mentioning that Nigeria is a relatively cheap country to live in. Friendly, too. The cost of living in this populous country, as one would expect, depends majorly on a number of factors: the area you decide to live in, the size of your household, and your financial status. 

The cost of living in Lagos or Abuja, for example, is much higher than the cost of living in Uyo. And a large business would cost more to sustain than a smaller one. In this article, we will be estimating the cost of living in Lagos and then other areas of Nigeria: 

Taxes, Insurance, and Pension

Taxes: every individual legally living in Nigeria who earns money for himself is expected to pay some form of tax—the personal income tax. 

The personal income tax is billed from any ‘taxable’ income a Nigerian resident makes worldwide as long as this resident earns more than ₦30,000. (People who earn less than ₦30,000 have been exempted from paying personal income taxes in Nigeria.) 

The personal income tax accounts for about 7 to 24 percent of taxable income annually, depending on how much the taxable income is. People who earn more are, of course, expected to pay more. 

Taxes in Nigeria are paid to the Federal Inland Revenue Service. 

Insurance: whilst personal insurance is not mandatory in Nigeria, Nigerian residents are advised to be covered by a personal insurance scheme. Personal insurance insures you from any accidental damages you or any member of your household sustains. 

Health insurance costs roughly about ₦40,000 per individual every year.

Pension: pension is the money earned after you have retired from work. 

In 2014, The Pension Act mandated that every employer who has up to or more than 15 employers working under them pay a pension. Your pension is expected to be nothing less than 8 percent of your salary.

Rent (Housing) Cost In Nigeria

Housing in Nigeria depends on where you live. Lagos and Abuja are amongst the most expensive cities in Nigeria in terms of housing. In Lagos, it will cost you about ₦300,000 annually to pay for a house on the mainland. A house, used here, refers to a one-bedroom flat. On the island, it would cost you just around ₦600,000 – ₦700,000. Yes, almost double. 

In Abuja, the price for rent is roughly the same as that on Lagos Island. Some houses, however, may be more expensive—especially ones around ASO Rock Area. 

Rent in the South is relatively cheaper. You can get a beautiful one-bedroom flat in Uyo for just around ₦250,000. Same as Calabar and Port-Harcourt. 

Food

Food in Nigeria is not expensive at all. Although it used to be far cheaper in 2016, inflation has hugely affected the cost currently.

  • A plate of food at fast food is going to cost between ₦2,000 – ₦3,000. 
  • A beer costs ₦500. 
  • A soft drink costs not more than ₦200. 
  • Plastic water costs ₦200. 
  • A Pizza costs not more than ₦4,000. 

You can live on ₦3,000 a day for food in Nigeria. 

Clothes

The price of clothing in Nigeria is relatively low. 

By clothes, we are referring to second-hand clothes, as these are the clothes commonly worn by Nigerians. Second-hand clothes, or Okrika, are clothes shipped from Europe or other areas of the world and sold in Nigeria.

In Lagos, clothes are relatively cheaper than they are in other parts of Nigeria, and this is because Lagos has a seaport. Most cloth importations stop at Lagos first. So, no additional cost for transportation and delivery.

In Lagos, you can get a piece of Okrika clothing for just around ₦300—there are sometimes much cheaper in markets like Alaba market, etc. 

If you do not like to wear second-hand clothes, you can get original clothes slightly above the company prices. 

₦30,000 spent well in a Lagos boutique can get you up to two clothes, depending on the make. 

Public Transit

Compared to other areas of Nigeria, public transportation in Lagos is quite expensive. This is a result of population density and the transportation problem. 

A trip from the mainland to the island can cost up to ₦700 if you use a Danfo. But I must warn you, Lagos Danfos can be quite uncomfortable; you will be seated for long minutes and maybe even hours too.

A trip from Ikotun to Victoria Island using Bolt or Uber can cost around ₦4,600 – ₦5,700. It can sometimes cost much more. 

Electricity

Electricity in Nigeria is said to be billed at around 23.6 Naira per kilowatt-hour. So, if you spend minimal power, you’ll only be paying about ₦3,000 every month. 

Internet

Internet, compared to other parts of the world, is expensive in Nigeria. 

And even worse, it is much slower. 

The cost of one gigabyte of data should be around ₦1,000. This depends on your internet service provider. It can be slightly higher or slightly lower. 

Mobile Data Usage

If you use a lot of data on your mobile devices, you should budget, spending around five thousand Naira on data every month. 

Banking

Banks in Nigeria charge the following on personal accounts: 

  • Debit Card: most banks charge not more than ₦1,500 for personal debit cards. Classic debit cards. 
  • Stamp Duty Charge of up to ₦50 on every transfer or deposit.
  • Monthly card maintenance fee. Usually does not exceed ₦100.
  • Token Maintenance fee.
  • SMS charge. Usually does not exceed ₦200 every month. 

Liability Insurance

Liability insurance insures your properties and that of other people. 

Liability insurance for a small business in Lagos is going to cost just around ₦15,000. 

Vehicles

Cars are relatively cheap in Lagos. The cost depends entirely on the make of the car, whether or not it is brand new, and the year it was first sold. 

Second-hand cars are relatively cheaper and should cost around 1 – 4 Million Naira. 

Pets

The cost of pets depends on the kind of pet you want. 

Puppies cost around ₦45,000. Some breeds cost considerably more, though. And cats’ cost varies. 

You can get cats and kittens at Olist and Jiji online shops. If you have a dog or cat, you must pay for their food too.

Monthly and Yearly Expenses Example

These are my monthly and yearly expenses in Lagos. The table only includes the bills I must pay and not other things I spend cash or buy every now and then like clothes, drinks, electronics, broken things, etc.

DescriptionMonthlyYearly
Rent37,500450,000
Transportation8,400100,800
Groceries35,000420,000
Electricity6,00072,000
Internet (data)2,00024,000
Example Budget

Photo by rupixen.com on Unsplash

By Allison

Allison is enthusiastic about finding information and sharing guides about Lagos. He also covers all exciting topics about Africa at Lonely Africa. He lives in Lagos with his wife Antje and cat Leo and loves fabric crafting, and watching TV in his spare time.

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