What is SONCAP Certificate for Nigeria Export ???

General Description


SONCAP 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.

 

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 maybe 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:
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• 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.
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SONCAP Services


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

• China Certification and Inspection Group (CCIC) – www.ccic.com

• Cotecna Inspection Limited SA – www.cotecna.com

• Société Generale de Surveillance (SGS) SA - http://www.sgs.com/en/Public-Sector/Product-Conformity-Assessment-PCA/Nigeria-SGS-Mandate.aspx

• Intertek – www.exports2nigeria.com

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:

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

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