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    Introduction to SONCAP

    SON stands for ‘Standards Organisation of Nigeria’.

    SON was SON was established by SON Act 56 of 1971, 20 of 1984, 18 of 1990 as amended to carry out the following functions among others:

    1. Organise tests and do everything necessary to ensure compliance with standards designated and approved by the Council.

    2. Undertake investigations as necessary into the quality of facilities, materials and products in Nigeria, and establish a quality assurance system including certification of factories, products and laboratories.

    3. Ensure reference standards for calibration and verification of measures and measuring instruments.

    4. Compile an inventory of products requiring standardisation;compile Nigerian standards specifications.

     What is the meaning of NIS?

    NIS stands for ‘Nigerian Industrial Standard’. This is the prefix given to all standards elaborated as Nigerian standards.

    It is also included before other adapted or adopted national or international standards.

    How can one identify products certified by SON?

    Products certified by SON can be recognized by the certification marks inscribed on them or their packaging.

    The two certification marks are for ‘MANCAP’ and ‘NIS’.

    How can a company be certified?

    For a company to be certified, it must address all the requirements of the standard being certified to.

    For QMS, all requirements of ISO 9001:2008 must be addressed, specifically must meet the ISO 9001 Documentation Requirements.

     

    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.

     

    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:

    • 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.