From the articles


The federal government has granted ‘Pioneer Status’ to the creative industry, in a landmark move aimed at transforming the industry to a creative economy and creating jobs.

In a statement issued in Abuja on Thursday, the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, said the decision to grant the industry ‘Pioneer Status’ is in fulfilment of the promise made by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, represented by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun, at the opening of the Creative Industry Financing Conference in Lagos 17-18 July 2017. I attended the Creative Nigeria Summit and see that the government is indeed keeping to her words.

The ‘Pioneer Status’ is granted to companies making investments in qualifying industries and products as tax holiday from the payment of corporate income tax and withholding tax on dividend from pioneer profits for an initial period of three years, extendable for one or two additional years.

The ‘Pioneer Status’ for the Creative Industry covers:

  • music production
  • publishing and distribution (including online digital distribution)
  • Photography
  • Production and post-production of digital content for motion pictures, videos, television programmes, commercials, distribution and exhibition (digital movies, animation, videos, tv programmes and commercials)
  • Publishing of books (copyrighted books) and development and Publishing of ready-made software (operating systems, software applications and computer games).

Mode of Application

  • All application to be addressed to the Minister *State the status of the company
  • Give details of qualifying capital expenditure to be incurred
  • Give sources of qualifying capital expenditure and estimated cost
  • Specify location of Assets
  • Date of production of pioneer products
  • Any by product not being a pioneer product

Terms of Pioneer Certificate

  • Must be in terms of the application to which it relates.
  • Specify permissible by-products to be produced.
  • Specify period within which company must be incorporated and conditions to be endorsed.
  • Pioneer status will only be issued from a date when company was incorporated and shall be effective from a date not earlier than the date on which the application was submitted to the minister or date of incorporation, whichever is the later.
  • Any other condition will be specified by the minister

Retrospective Pioneer Operation

Where a pioneer certificate is to be operative from a retrospective date, all Acts shall be treated as not having been closed or not having happened and all taxes paid (if any shall be repaid as soon as may after the expiration of three months from the production day.

Production Date

  • No later than one month when the company is going into commercial production (marketable quantity), the company shall apply in writing for the certification of its production date.
  • Not later than one month after the production date or any extended period granted by the Board, the company shall make application in writing to the Board for the certification of the amount incurred as qualifying capital expenditure prior to the production date.

Documentation required by FIRS

  • Memorandum and Article of Association
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Answer to standard questionnaire
  • Pioneer Certificate issued
  • The period approved
  • Production date
  • Products and by-products
  • For a going concern, the Audited account ended before the production date to be furnished (regardless of the number of months). Rendition of Returns
  • The conditions governing the submission of tax returns in CITA are applicable to a pioneer company.


Operators and their financial advisors must close think ahead and plan their businesses properly to enjoy the benefits from this incentive.