SON Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP)

GENERAL DESCRIPTION

SONCAPSONCAP is a pre-shipment verification of conformity to Standards process used to verify that products to be imported into Nigeria are in conformity with the applicable NIS or approved equivalents, and technical regulations before shipment.

Under the SONCAP regime, imports are required to undergo verification and testing at country of supply (Exporting) and a SONCAP Certificate (SC) issued demonstrating that the products meet the applicable standards and regulations or a Non-Conformity Report (NCR) where the goods do not comply.

The conformity assessment elements undertaken in SONCAP include but not limited to physical inspection prior to shipment, sampling, testing and analysis in accredited laboratories, audit of product processes and systems, and documentary check of conformity with regulations and overall assessment of conformity to standards.

SONCAP OBJECTIVES

The objectives of the programme include but are not limited to the following:

  • Ensure that regulated products comply with the NIS or approved standards prior to export to Nigeria
  • Provide a level playing field in terms of quality for both regulated and locally manufactured products in order to prevent unfair competition
  • Prevent the dumping of substandard goods into the Nigeria market and as a result preventing economic loss to the importer and the nation at large
  • Impede loss of lives and property including foreign exchange bearing in mind that the exporting country/Exporter have been paid for the goods shipped into Nigeria
  • Forestall any adverse reaction (such as environmental pollution occasioned by destruction of substandard products) by regulatory Agencies on arrival of such goods in Nigeria
  • Facilitate trade through fast track clearance of goods at the ports
  • Encourage genuine investors and investments in Nigeria
  • Promote made in Nigeria products
  • Conserve foreign exchange


ESSENTIAL FEATURES OF THE NEW SONCAP REGIME

There are three essential features to the SONCAP regime:

  1. Scope of Goods or Products subject to SONCAP
    The current regulated (provide link to regulated list) includes all imported goods to be regulated by SONCAP except the following:

    • Food products
    • Drugs (Medicines)
    • Medicals other than equipment and machines
    • Chemicals used as raw material by bonafide manufacturers
    • Military wares & equipment
    • Goods classified as contraband by the Federal Government of Nigeria
    • Used products other than automobiles
  2. Bonafide manufacturers who intend to import machinery or related spare parts for their manufacturing are advised to apply to the SON for SONCAP import permit to enable them import (link to import permit).
  3. The Federal Government through an Inter-ministerial Technical Committee on Comprehensive Import Supervision Scheme (CISS) which is domiciled at the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) may from time to time add or delete product(s) for regulation under the scheme. Appropriate notification will always be provided by the CISS through the CBN and an adequate period will be allowed between the date of publicizing the measure and its implementation to enable full compliance.


ROUTES FOR DETERMINING CONFORMITY OF PRODUCT(S)

Each shipment of good(s) or product(s) subject to SONCAP arriving any Nigerian Port must be accompanied by a SONCAP Certificate (SC).

The methods employed for achieving these requirements vary according to the nature of product, the risk profile of the manufacturer and the level of conformity met by existing certifications.

The SON has defined three routes that may be applied as appropriate conformity assessment procedures for product(s) subject to SONCAP, according to type, risk and effect on the health and safety, and environmental protection.

The routes are:

Route A: For unregistered/Unlicensed products (Conformity Verification)

Each shipment to be imported requires inspection, consignment testing to applicable standards, witnessing of stuffing of Full Container Load (FCL) and affixing of seals to FCL upon the conformity to the requirements, the product is issued with a SC, which is valid only for that particular consignment.

The steps shall be as follows:

Step 1: Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status)
Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status), valid for six months to be issued by IAF upon satisfactory completion of:

  • Inspection
  • Product Sampling: Samples submitted for testing shall be (i) drawn by the IAF, or (ii) drawn under IAF supervision at the manufacturer’s premises.

Step 2: Test Report
Test Report to be issued by:

  • Approved ISO 17025 laboratories
  • Manufacturer for testing witnessed by IAF

Step 3: Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
Certificate of Conformity to be issued by IAF upon:

  • Receipt of satisfactory Test Report as per step 2
  • Satisfactory goods verification, witnessing of stuffing of Full Container Loads (FCL) and affixing of seals to FCL based on a risk assessment
  • Receipt of satisfactory final documents

In the event of non-compliance with the testing and/or inspection requirements, the IAF shall issue a Non Conformity Report.

Route B: For Registered Products (Registration and Conformity Inspection)

Registration of products is done following type testing and assessment of the manufacturer’s quality system in place in order to determine that the product(s) under consideration is in conformity with the applicable standards and that the manufacturer has the necessary systems in place to produce consistently over a time the same quality product.

The steps shall be as follows:

Step 1: Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status)
Product Certificate (PC), valid for one year, to be issued by IAF upon satisfactory completion of audit of manufacturer’s factory.
Manufacturer/Exporter under route A could be elevated to Route B based on good compliance history (minimum of four fully compliant transactions)

Step 2: Test Report
Test Report, issued by approved laboratory or manufacturer, to be received by IAF for every shipment but in at least 40% of shipments per quarter the IAF to have either taken the sample for submission to the approved laboratory or to have witnessed the sampling and testing at the manufacturer’s premises.

Step 3: Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
Certificate of Conformity to be issued by IAF upon:

  • Receipt of satisfactory Test Report as per step 2
  • Satisfactory goods verification, witnessing of stuffing of Full Container Loads (FCL) and affixing of seals to FCL (where feasible at least 40% of shipments per quarter)
  • Receipt of satisfactory final documents

In the event of non-compliance with the testing and/or inspection requirements, the IAF shall issue a Non Conformity Report.

Route C: For Licensed products (Product Certification Systems)

Licensing of products is based on detailed evaluation of the product, including testing and factory audit and regular surveillances. If in conformity with the relevant NIS or approved equivalents, the product will be granted license.

However, at least twice a year pre-shipment verification ie documentary review, process evaluation, inspection of facility, inspection of consignment to be shipped, verification of testing, witnessing of FCL stuffing and sealing of shipments will be conducted to ensure that conformity is maintained.

Licensing is only granted to the manufacturer of a product and the process is not available for exporter and/or supplier.

The steps shall be as follows:

Step 1: Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status)
Product Certificate (PC), valid for one year, to be issued by IAF upon satisfactory completion of audit of manufacturer’s factory.
Manufacturer under route B could be elevated to Route C based on good compliance history (minimum of four fully compliant transactions and two factory verifications)

Step 2: Test Report
Type Test Report, issued by the manufacturer or approved laboratory, to be received by IAF for every product within the scope of the licensed product certificate.

Step 3: Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
Certificate of Conformity to be issued by IAF upon:

  • Receipt of satisfactory Test Report as per step 2
  • Satisfactory goods verification, witnessing of stuffing of Full Container Loads (FCL) and affixing of seals to FCL (where feasible at least one shipment every six months).
  • Receipt of satisfactory final documents

In the event of non-compliance with the testing and/or inspection requirements, the IAF shall issue a Non Conformity Report.


SONCAP SERVICES

The SONCAP Scheme is operated on the behalf of SON by four International Accreditation Firms (IAFs) (link to IAF websites).

No territory or region or area has been assigned to any of the IAFs.

The IAFs are free to operate in every area of their competence and at any location in the world.


SCOPE

In order to encourage quality and competition that will enable exporters, importers and the consumers at large have free access to desired quality/professional services as well as enable the operating parties aspire to achieve the common objectives of SONCAP, the IAFs are free to operate in every area of their competence and at any location in the world.


SONCAP COMPLIANCE PROCEDURES

The scheme entails two mandatory processes of verification of product quality to meet specified standards such as NIS, International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO), and International Electrotechnical Committee (IEC) and approved standards of other Nations among others.

The processes are:

  1. Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status) or Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status) or Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status)
  2. Certificate of Conformity (CoC)
  3. SONCAP Certification (SC)

These documents are mandatory for importation and Customs clearance of SONCAP regulated goods under the import requirements of the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status), Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status) or Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status) issued under Routes A, B and C respectively are required for the opening of Form ‘M.’ The Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status) is valid for one shipment only whereas the Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status) or Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status) are valid for a period of one year.

The SONCAP Certificate (SC) is a mandatory Customs clearance document in Nigeria. It is issued by Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on receipt of Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the IAFs. The Certificate is applicable to SONCAP regulated products.

The SONCAP compliance procedures are designed to provide flexibility in the testing of regulated products by exporters. Any exporter is at liberty to select any of the IAFs laboratories or approved Accreditation Agents laboratories which will be used for testing the samples, as provided for above.


SONCAP ADMINISTRATIVE FEES

The administrative fees for issuance of both the product and SONCAP certificates are as follows:

  1. Product Certificate 1 (Unregistered Status)  = $300
  2. Product Certificate 2 (Registered Status)  = $300
  3. Product Certificate 3 (Licensed Status)  = $1,300
    • Additional models to be included in the same certificate and covered in the same test report are charged at an additional $5 per month per model which translates to $60 per annum.
    • The cost of new products is $300.
  4. Certificate of Conformity =$300
    • Certificate amendment fee = $100
  5. Non Conformity Report = $350


TESTING

The testing of product(s) is/are carried out as provided for in the Accreditation agreement with emphasis on quality, performance and safety.

Testing is governed by the provisions of ISO 17025 in terms of organization of the testing laboratory, technical staff qualifications, training/experience, testing and measuring equipment, calibration, test methods and procedures, records and test reports.


ACCREDITATION FIRMS OFFICES

SONCAP Import Permit
The SON shall issue SONCAP import permit to exempt certain categories of imports of regulated products from certification. This shall be done after examination of the import documents by the SONCAP unit and approved by the Director General of SON. Imports covered by permits will be subjected to conformity assessment in Nigeria.

SGS
Web address: www.sgs.com/en/public-sector/product-conformity-assessment-PCA/
Contact Persons: Babatunde Omoloja / Emmanuel Oyebode
Email address: babatunde.omoloja@sgs.com and emmanuel.oyebode@sgs.com
Phone numbers: 08035351351 and 08039799449
Address: SON, 13/14 Victoria Arobieke Street, Off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I.

INTERTEK
Web address: www.exports2nigeria.com
Contact Person: Oluseyi Ogundeji
Email address: oluseyi.ogundeji@intertek.com
Phone number: 08037478716
Operational office:  SON, Rm 11, 13/14 Victoria Arobieke Street, Off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I.

CCIC
Web address: www.ccic.com
Contact Person: Engr Uchenna Molokwu
Email address:
uchennamolokwu1971@gmail.com
Phone number: 08033280691
Operational office: SON, Rm 10, 13/14 Victoria Arobieke Street, Off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I.

COTECNA – NIGERIA
Web address: www.exports-to-nigeria.com
Contact Person: Irene Sido
Contact Person:
08035345579
Email address: Irene.sido@cotecna-nigeria.com
Operational office: SON, Rm 12, 13/14 Victoria Arobieke Street, Off Admiralty Way, Lekki Phase I.

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