If you are seasoned importer using our services, you would readily have been informed about SONCAP requirements in Nigeria, or come across it somehow, somewhere else. In today’s post, we talk about SONCAP requirements for exporters in Nigeria with a view to creating an adequate understanding of our craving clients.
SONCAP Requirements in Nigeria
What does SONCAP stand for?
SONCAP stands for Standard Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Program. A SONCAP Certificate (SC) is a Customs clearance document mandatory in Nigeria for import/export purpose. 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 objective of SONCAP
The certification is to monitor the conformity of exportable products. It is an important aspect of exportation positioned to protect Nigerian consumers from being exposed to sub-standard and unsafe goods. In essence, the SONCAP is a product conformity scheme with the objective to help ensure that products exported to Nigeria meet minimum safety requirements.
What are SONCAP Regulated Products
SONCAP regulated products are products which, without the certification, are not allowed exportation to Nigeria. Every exporter of these particular products category is mandated to obtain the SONCAP certification.
If you’re exporting any of these products, then you must comply by obtaining certification. The products are:
- Arts and Crafts
- Furniture (Some furniture items are forbidden, we can advise)
- Leather, Plastic and Rubber Products
- Electrical and Electronic products
- New Motor Vehicles and spare parts including Tyres
- Chemical products
- Building and Construction Material
- Mechanical Devices and Gas Appliances
- Paper and stationery items
- Protective Safety Equipment
- Medical devices
Routes that Determines Product Conformity
For now, there are products that may not require SONCAP Certification. These products require conformity with SONCAP verification and certification. So, if you are exporting these products? Then you are exempt, at least for now.
- Food Products
- Drugs (Medicines)
- Medical Products (other than equipment and machines)
- Chemicals used as Raw Material by bonafide manufacturers
- Military Ware and Equipment
- Used products other than automobiles
- Goods classified as contraband by the Federal Government of Nigeria &
- 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).
There are three routes you can consider for conformity assessment for goods which are subject to SONCAP. These are according to type, risk and effect on the health and safety:
Route A: For unregistered/unlicensed products
Each shipment requires inspection, consignment testing to applicable standards, observing of the packaging of Full Container Load (FCL) and attaching of seals to FCL upon the conformity to the requirements. The product is issued with a SONCAP, which is then valid only for that consignment.
Route B: For Registered Products (Registration and Conformity Inspection)
Registration of products is completed following type testing and assessment of the manufacturer’s quality procedures to determine that the goods are within the applicable standards and that the manufacturer can continue to produce a consistent standard of product.
Route C: For Licensed products (Product Certification Systems)
Licensing of goods and products is based on detail evaluation, including testing, factory audit and routine examinations. If conformity with the relevant NIS or approved equivalents are met, the goods will be issued a license.
Licensing is only granted to the manufacturer of goods; the process is not available for exporter and/or supplier.
Benefits of SONCAP to Nigeria?
SONCAP help ensure the protection of the Nigerian consumer from unsafe and sub-standard products. It also enhance the competition among Nigerian manufacturers on a level playing ground with imports since it will help prevent the import of products which are often cheaper due to their non-compliance with safety standards.
Risk of non-compliance with SONCAP
Regulated Products arriving at Nigerian ports without the necessary Certificate required by SONCAP may be rejected at the port and refused release, in other word, seized. The compliance process should be undertaken in the country of export.
The importer/exporter is then required to re-export the goods or face delays while the goods are sampled and then tested to safety standards. Another risk is that the exporter/importer will be expected be responsible for all expenses related to the delay and process of putting things in proper shape.
What will it cost to comply with SONCAP?
The fees for demonstrating compliance with SONCAP are detailed within the “Guidelines for Exporters” document which can be obtained from SON or your local Intertek SON Country Office or from SON.
How do exporters show compliance with the SONCAP?
Compliance with the SONCAP is a two stage process.
The first stage, Product Certification, is applicable only the first time that you wish to export a particular type of product. A Product Certificate will be issued after the submission of an acceptable Test Report to the local Intertek SON Country Office. The resulting Product Certificate can be valid for up to one year or six months accordingly. The second stage, SONCAP Certification, is applicable on a shipment by shipment basis.
The detailed process is contained within the “Guidelines for Exporters” document which can be obtained from SON or your local Intertek SON Country Office or from our Resources section.
Where to Obtain the Certificates
Intertek have established a global network of Intertek SON Country Offices in all the major trading partners of Nigeria. All activities related to SONCAP must be performed in the country of export by the exporter through the Intertek SON Country Office with geographical responsibility for that country of export closest to the Exporter. The Intertek SON Country Office responsible for any given country can be found in Geographic Areas of Responsibility for SONCOs document found in our Resources section.
To obtain further information about the SONCAP, you can speak to any of our Representative for proper guide/directive.
Let’s Guide You Through The Process
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