HOW TO OBTAIN SONCAP CERTIFICATION
Standards Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Program is a product conformity scheme whose objective is to assist in ensuring that products that are exported to Nigeria meet minimum safety requirements. The agency is established in order to help ensure that Nigerian consumers are not exposed to potentially unsafe and sub-standard goods.
However, under SONCAP regime, the products you are importing are required to pass through verification and testing at country of supply (Exporting) and a SONCAP Certificate (SC) which will be issued to demonstrate that the product meet the standards of application and 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 and regulation or if the product do not comply with standards of application, you will be issued Non-Conformity Report (NCR).
Furthermore, 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 Compliance Procedures
In order to clear your imported goods, as an importer you will have the following documents for all consignment of regulated products, and this is under the import requirements of the Federal Government of Nigeria. So, the documents are:-
- Product Certificate (PC)
- Certificate of Conformity (COC) which can also be called SONCAP Certificate (SC)
However, under the SONCAP program, there are three defined routes that are applicable as assessment of conformity procedures for products and they are:-
- Route A:- for Unregistered or Unlicensed Products:- This route is recommended for exporters that are exporting frequently. Therefore, the stages under this route A are:-
- Document Evaluation and Testing:- At this stage, your export documents will be evaluated and tested for originality and eligibility
- PC – No Registration:- Here, you will be labelled No registration yet but your product may be award a certificate. And this is referred to as Product Certificate (PC). This unregistered status is valid for six months and it’s been issued by IAF upon satisfactory completion of:-
- Inspection and Product Sampling: – These are samples submitted for testing and it shall be
(i) Drawn by the IAF or (ii) Drawn under IAF Supervision at the manufacturer’s premises.
- Inspection and Testing:- Your product and as well as your location will be inspected at this stage and some test will be carried on your product to confirm the originality and to know if it will serve the purpose in which the product was established to served. And, the testing report is to be issued by:-
- Manufacturer for testing witnessed by IAF
- Approved ISO 17025 laboratories
- SONCAP Certificate:- Then finally, at this stage, SONCAP certificate will be issued to you after you have successfully scale through the previous three
Route B – Registered Products:- Exporters or Manufacturers that used to exports frequently to Nigeria are recommended to apply for Product/SONCAP certification under this Route, in as much they have a working quality system in order to determine that the products manufactured are produced regularly, making use of the same quality product. And the stages under this Route B are:-
- Document Evaluation and Testing
- PC – Registration: – This is 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)
- 40% Inspection and Random Testing: – Test Report will be 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.
- SONCAP Certificate, this is also called Certificate of Conformity (CoC) and this will 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
- Route C: Licensed Products – Manufacturers or Producers that used to exports frequently to Nigeria and have demonstrated an excellent level of compliance under Route B, mentioned above are in good position to apply for Product Licensing under this Route C. The stages are same thing as route B but there is one different, in the third stage which is License Review and Random Inspection. In the 3rd stage, the license given to the exporter or manufacturer will be reviewed before SONCAP certificate will be issued. Furthermore, 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. Therefore, Manufacturer under route B could be elevated to Route C based on his good compliance history which is to be minimum of four fully compliant transactions and two factory verifications.
And, finally in this Route C, you will be issued Certificate of Conformity 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.
And, if you don’t comply with the testing and/or inspection requirements, the IAF will issue a Non Conformity Report.
In a way of summarizing all the aforementioned process, in obtaining a SONCAP Certificate and activating it, you can as well follow this processes, step by step.
- Go to the SONCAP Onlineapplication on SONCAP website
- Click on the Apply to Activate SONCAP Certificate/Import Permitbutton
- Under Type of Activation, select SONCAP Activation for PAARfrom the dropdown list
- Complete the form by entering the SONCAP/Certificate Number, the Importer Name, the TIN Number and the Importer Phone Number
- Click on the Submit Upon completion of the process, a pop-up message will confirm activation. To ensure it has been sent to the Customs/NICIS portal, the importer should do the following:
- Go to the SON Certificate databaseon the Nigeria Single Window application
- Input the Certificate Number and click on the SONCAP Certificateradio button
- Click on Searchto display the certificate
- Proceed with the PAAR process.
Finally, there are some imported goods that are not regulated by SONCAP and they are:-
- Chemicals used as raw material by certified manufacturers
- Used products other than automobiles
- Goods classified as contraband by the Federal Government of Nigeria
- Medicals other than equipment machines
- Food products
- Drugs (Medicines)
- Military wares and equipments
Finally, bonafide manufacturers who intend to import machinery or related spare parts for their manufacturing are advised to apply to the Standard Organization of Nigeria for SONCAP import permit so they can be able to import.
About the Writer
Olusipe Abiodun Yinka is an Audit Associate in Bulls Capital Limited. He has a National Diploma in Accounting from Abraham Adesanya Polytechnic, Ijebu-Igbo, Ogun State; as well as a Degree in Accounting from Alex Ekwueme Federal University, Ebonyi State. He is a creative writer and a Trendsetter. Apart from writing, Olusipe is also an entertainer.
In case you need our service in relation to this post, please call 08023200801, 08075765799, email: email@example.com. Alternatively, you may complete our request for proposal form hereunder.