Understand SONCAP – Export to Nigeria

Fri 6 Apr 2018
Posted by: William Barns-Graham

nigeria soncap

A recent report by Standard Chartered Bank warned that the UK is missing out on £10bn worth of exports a year to, what it calls, the Emerging 7 (China, India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia).  The report also 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 IOE&IT corporate member XDS Solutions, to focus on one of the Emerging 7, Nigeria.  And to provide a guide to SONCAP Certification to help ensure IOE&IT members are prepared for the 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.  

Apply for your SONCAP Certificate via XDS Solutions >>

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
  • Toys
  • 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 bona fide 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 the XDS Solutions SONCAP Account Team via enquiries@xds-solutions.com 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 this recent blog, Nigeria SONCAP: Update on Life Endangering Products >>

Exporters who are concerned about the complexities of international compliance can boost their knowledge base by enrolling staff on the Institute’s Diploma in World Customs Compliance. The pioneering 18 month to two-year online course offers part-time blended learning, with modular assessments - and leads to a full customs qualification at level 5 diploma level. You can check it out here – where you will also find details of our complete range of professional qualifications.

About XDS Solutions:

Chelmsford-based XDS Solutions was launched in 2013 to offer export managers a fast and simple way to organise SASO and SONCAP Certificates of Conformity. With more than 12 years’ experience navigating export documentation, its founders knew well the frustration felt at being unable to find a straightforward route. Instead of slow, complex, web-based conformity assessment, an XDS Account Manager personally manages every step of each client’s compliance journey.  Moving mountains to meet certification deadlines.

To discuss your firm’s export procedures, and benefit from industry leading turnaround times for issuance of SASO & SONCAP Certificates of Conformity, visit XDS-solutions.com.

If you would like more information on the IOEIT’s membership and training, please visit our website or contact us if you have any questions.