Expats moving to Nigeria are often shocked when they find out how high the country's cost of living is. The most expensive city in Nigeria is Lagos, and Mercer’s 2020 Cost of Living Survey ranks the city 18th out of 209 cities, which makes its cost of living comparable to London and Moscow.

Fortunately, foreigners working in the city often insist on and are afforded an employment contract that finances accommodation, health insurance, a driver and car, and education. If these points aren’t covered, then an appropriately inflated salary should be negotiated. 


Cost of accommodation in Lagos

Accommodation in Lagos has not kept up with the city’s rapid development. Demand is high and accommodation can be hard to come by and extremely expensive. There are only a handful of suburbs in Lagos that offer expats a reasonable quality of life in terms of accommodation, amenities and convenience. Most expats living in Lagos reside on Victoria Island, and in Ikoyi, Apapa and Ikeja. 

The majority of rental contracts are only available on a two-year lease. It's also not uncommon for the landlord to require the total amount be paid upfront, rather than in monthly instalments. Luckily, housing is usually provided as part of most expat workers’ relocation packages. 

Expats who have only been allocated an accommodation allowance should make sure the amount promised is enough to secure appropriate housing in Lagos.


Cost of transport in Lagos

Transport in Lagos is relatively affordable. The most common forms of public transport in Lagos include taxis, buses and motorbike taxis. Sadly, despite improvements over the years, most forms of public transport are still quite unsafe or unreliable due to poorly-maintained vehicles and reckless drivers.

Most expats would rather opt to have their own car, often with a personal driver. This is usually also offered as part of their employment package.


Cost of schooling in Lagos

With public schooling not being up to the standards most foreigners are used to, expat children usually attend international schools in Lagos.

Expats should be fully aware that education in international schools comes at a high price. Expats moving to Lagos with children must stipulate subsidies and allowances for education when negotiating their employment contract. 


Cost of shopping in Lagos

As is the case in most developing countries, the cost for Western food and clothes is much more expensive in Lagos than one would be used to. Western groceries and clothing are often overpriced. 

Expats will find that shopping locally is much cheaper than shopping in one of the modern malls that have emerged in recent years. The price for local produce is fairly cheap at the local markets in Lagos. Buying material and having clothes made by a local tailor will also make buying clothing more budget-friendly.


Cost of living in Lagos chart

Prices may vary across Nigeria, depending on product and service provider. The list below shows average prices in Lagos in August 2020.

Accommodation (monthly rent in expat area)

Three-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 400,000 - 600,000

Three-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 800,000 - 1,500,000

One-bedroom apartment outside of city centre

NGN 200,000 - 250,000

One-bedroom apartment in city centre

NGN 250,000 - 350,000

Shopping and groceries

Milk (1 litre)

NGN 1,000

Chicken breast (1kg)

NGN 1,650

Dozen eggs

NGN 550

Loaf of white bread 

NGN 400

Rice (1kg)

NGN 890

Pack of cigarettes (Marlboro)

NGN 425

Transport

City centre public transport

NGN 200

Taxi rate per km

NGN 450

Petrol (per litre)

NGN 145

Eating out

Big Mac Meal

NGN 2,300

Coca-Cola (330ml)   

NGN 125

Cappuccino

NGN 1,100

Local beer (500ml)

NGN 300

Three-course meal at mid-range restaurant for two

NGN 13,500

Utilities

Mobile call rate (per minute)

NGN 20

Internet (per month)

NGN 16,200

Basic utilities (per month for standard household)

NGN 10,000

Expat Health Insurance

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