British businesses are often uncertain of Nigeria’s SONCAP requirements, and this can inhibit potential for export growth. But, a recent study by Standard Chartered Bank warned that the UK is in fact missing out on £10bn worth of exports a year to, what it calls, the Emerging 7 (China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia). According to a recent BBC report, the bank, which specialises in financing international trade, has urged the UK to orientate itself to these economies and to look more widely for growth.
As the UK settles into a slower pace of growth and with Brexit now firmly on the horizon, we asked XDS Solutions Nigeria specialist Anna-Marie Walsh to provide a SONCAP guide for British businesses. Providing helpful customs compliance advice for firms looking to Nigeria as an opportunity to diversify exports and accelerate growth.
Understand the SON Conformity Assessment Programme for Exports to Nigeria (SONCAP)
If your business has its sights set on Nigeria for export expansion the first thing to consider is that there is a compliance procedure in place and a SONCAP certificate is required if shipments are to clear customs smoothly.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP) is the strict set of guidelines implemented by The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON).
It provides pre-shipment verification of conformity to standards required by Nigerian customs officials and verifies that products being imported into Nigeria conform with applicable NIS or approved equivalents, and technical regulations before shipment.
All exports to Nigeria must comply. No SONCAP certificate, no entry.
How to apply for SONCAP
SONCAP certification is delivered via accredited agencies. Exporters should declare the HS Code of the products being shipped at the Form M stage, which is prior to SONCAP certification. The certificate is then sent via electronic transfer to the Standards Organisation of Nigeria’s portal.
XDS Solutions delivers industry-leading SONCAP turnaround times.
Products which require a SONCAP certificate
If you’re exporting any of these products, then you must apply for SONCAP certification. Even if you already have import arrangements in place.
- 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
Products exempt from SONCAP certification
Exporting these products? Then you are exempt from SONCAP certification (for now):
- Food Products
- Drugs (Medicines)
- Medical Products (other than equipment and machines)
- Chemicals used as Raw Material by bonifide manufacturers
- Military Ware and Equipment
- Used products other than automobiles
The requirements of SONCAP are constantly evolving. Ensure you stay up to date and are notified of future changes as they happen by registering your details with our SONCAP Account Team via [email protected] or +44 01245 249002.
*The Federal Government of Nigeria also classes some goods a forbidden contraband. Please contact us for clarification.
Routes to SONCAP compliance
- Route A – For Unregistered/Unlicensed products, resulting in issue of Product Certificate 1
- Route B – For Registered Products, resulting in issue of Product Certificate 2
- Route C – For Licensed Products, resulting in issue of Product Certificate 3
Once Product Certificate 1, 2 or 3 has been issued then your product will receive its SONCAP Certificate of Conformity (CoC), and export into Nigeria can begin.
Product Certificate in addition to SONCAP
It’s also important to consider that, as of 30th March 2017, SON introduced a new procedure for certifying shipments and issuing SONCAP Certification relating to Life Endangering Products.
This means that exporters of a host of products, including electrical parts and safety glasses can now only be issued with a SONCAP certificate once they have a valid Product Certificate.
To see the full list of products affected, and understand more about the process of gaining a Product Certificate read our blog, Nigeria SONCAP: Update on Life Endangering Products >>
No need for guess work. Our expert SONCAP Account Managers are on hand to provide regulatory clarification and arrange certificate issuance, fast. Connect with us on Live Chat >>
Stay informed – SONCAP CoC Shipment Compliance
To understand more, ensure you stay up to date with the SONCAP Certificate of Conformity and are notified of changes as they happen register your details with our SONCAP Account Team via [email protected] or +44 01245 249002.
Alternatively, simply click on our live chat button to talk to an expert today.
About XDS Solutions:
Every step of your export document journey managed by us. No more complex forms, no more frustrating processes, just a team of expert advisors who’ll move mountains to meet your export certification deadline.
We’re proud members of Institute of Export & International Trade – the UK’s only professional body representing international trade.