PRODUCT CERTIFICATION BY THE STANDARDS ORGANISATION OF NIGERIA (SON)
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) is the apex standardisation body in Nigeria.
The organisation was established by the Enabling Act No. 56 of 1971 which was amended three times: ( vide Act No. 20 of 1978, Act No. 32 of 1984 and Act No. 18 of 1990). The 1990 Act which was incorporated into the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 has now been repealed by the current Act, that is, the Standards Organisation Act (SON) Act No. 14, 2015, (hereinafter referred to as the Act).
The organisation has different departments such as
¬∑ Inspectorate and Compliance Monitoring
¬∑ Laboratory Services
¬∑ Planning, Research and Logistics
¬∑ Management System Certification
¬∑ Product Certification
¬∑ Finance and Accounts
¬∑ Human Resource Management
¬∑ Metrology and Instrumentation
The focus of this paper is on the department of product certificationof the organisation.
Before a product is certified, the organisation ensures it complies with the requisite industrial standards as applicable to each product or service. Standards, therefore, help to make sure that products and services are fit for their purpose and are comparable and compatible.
Before industrial standards are formulated, Section 23of the Act provides that the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Council must inform all parties having, in its opinion, substantial interests in the industrial standards in question and constitute a committee encompassing a wide representation of such interested parties. The committee formulates a report which shall be submitted to the Council for consideration and if in the opinion of the Council the report is of significance to the national economy and conforms to the objectives of the Act, it shall be established as Nigerian Industrial Standards.
Industrial standards are to be reviewed at least every 5 years.
Product Certification service is responsible for ensuring that locally manufactured products in Nigeria give the required degree of satisfaction to consumers through compliance with Government policies on standardisation and conformity assessment.
The purpose is to promote global effectiveness among domestic manufacturers and encourage continual improvement on the quality of products in line with the statutory obligation of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria. It is also to promote industrial/economic development by ensuring that Made-in-Nigeria products meet the requirements of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards with continual improvement on the quality of the products.
Product certification is intended to encourage continual improvement on the quality of products and production processes by manufacturing industries in the country and to give confidence to consumers that products purchased will not only meet intended use but will offer value for money.
Product Certification Schemes
SON‚Äôs Product Certification schemes are third party assessments of products and processes to confirm conformance to requirements of the relevant specifications or standards.
The main product certification schemes operated by the Organisation through the Product Certification Directorate are:
MANDATORY CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (MANCAP)
The Mandatory Conformity Assessment Program (MANCAP) is a mandatory product certification scheme put in place by the Organisation to ensure that all locally manufactured products in the country conform to the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) before they are presented for sale in the domestic market or exported.
The program ensures compliance of Made-in-Nigeria products to the minimum requirements of the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) or Code of Practice thereby promoting fair competition at both domestic and international markets, as well as safeguarding the safety and health of consumers in the overall interest of promoting economic and industrial development of Nigeria.
It protects genuine manufacturers against unhealthy practices such as production of sub-standard products, faking and counterfeiting as well as unfair competition in trade. It provides consumers with confidence that products manufactured in the country are fit, safe and meet the intended use. It also ensures that the environment is free from unnecessary wastes and pollution.
The procedures for MANCAP certification involve:
1. Inspection of the production processes.
2. Sampling and testing of the products against the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) to confirm compliance through conformity assessment processes.
3. Report of inspections and test results are compiled by State Offices and forwarded to Product Certification Directorate for evaluation and recommendation for the organization‚Äôs Management‚Äôs approval for certification.
4. If the product meets the requirement of the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standard, MANCAP certificate and MANCAP logo which bears a unique number for that product is issued for the product upon payment of applicable administrative charges.
A MANCAP certificate is valid for three years after which the product must undergo recertification.
The MANCAP certification is to be fixed on the smallest unit pack of the product after which the product can be introduced into the market for sale.
The product is monitored through periodic factory inspections and testing to ensure consistent compliance to the Nigerian Industrial Standard by the Organisation‚Äôs officials.
A NIS mark of quality is given by the Organisation to any product that constantly meets with the Nigerian Industrial Standards after periodic inspections. Before this mark of quality is given, a manufacturer is required to have in-plant laboratory facilities for monitoring consistent conformance of the products to quality requirements.
SON CONFORMITY ASSESSMENT PROGRAM (SONCAP)
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 industrial standards 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) is 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 through the SONCAP program include but are not limited to:
All imported goods are to be regulated by SONCAP except the following:
¬∑ Food products.
¬∑ Drugs (Medicines).
¬∑ Medicals other than equipment and machines.
¬∑ Chemicals used as raw material by bona fide manufacturers.
¬∑ Military wares & equipment.
¬∑ Goods classified as contraband by the Federal Government of Nigeria.
¬∑ Used products other than automobiles.
Bona fide manufacturers who intend to import machinery or related spare parts for their manufacturing are advised to apply to the SON for SONCAP import permit to enable them import.
Products regulated by SONCAP are:
¬∑ Electrical and electronic products that could be used by members of the public whether in their homes or otherwise e.g. in residential, office, retail, leisure etc environments. Examples include, but are not limited to, household appliances, IT products, communication products, lighting products, audio-visual products etc.
¬∑ Used motor vehicles.
¬∑ New motor vehicles.
¬∑ Motor vehicle tyres.
¬∑ Automotive glass.
¬∑ Vehicle spare parts.
¬∑ Chemical products (such as motor oils, paints, bitumen, school chalk, kitchenware, tableware and dinnerware).
¬∑ Building and construction Materials.
¬∑ Mechanical devices and gas Appliances (such as galvanised steel products, taps and valves, ceramic and sanitary wares, false ceilings, gas cylinders, kerosene stoves and hurricane lamps, aluminium products, Mechanical Backpack, Sprayers, pressure cookers, cement and gypsum etc).
¬∑ Paper and stationery items.
¬∑ Protective safety equipment (Fire Fighting Equipment, Electronic Security Equipment etc).
¬∑ Textile and textile products.
¬∑ Medical devices.
¬∑ Arts and crafts.
¬∑ Leather, plastic and rubber products.
Each shipment of good(s) or product(s) subject to SONCAP arriving any Nigerian Port must be accompanied by a SONCAP Certificate (SC).
The SONCAP Certificate (SC) is a mandatory Customs clearance document in Nigeria. It is issued by the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) on receipt of Certificate of Conformity (CoC) from the International accreditation firms.
OFFENCES IN RELATION TO STANDARDS
Section 26 of the Act provides for offences where there is a contravention of the Nigerian Industrial Standards and production of substandard products such as:
I. Forging of certification marks on products- fine of not less than N1, 000, 000.00 or 2 years imprisonment.
II. Where goods do not comply with standards and are sold or delivered for consumption or sale to the public:
- Manufacturer of the substandard product will be liable to a fine of 20% of the value of the product or N2, 000, 000.00 or 3 years imprisonment.
- Seller of the substandard product will be liable to a fine of 15% of the value of the product or N1, 000,000.00 or 2 years imprisonment.
- Importer of the substandard product will be liable to a fine per shipment of 20% of the value, or N2, 000, 000.00 or 2 years imprisonment.
The relevance of product certification cannot be underestimated. It is in the interest of the manufacturers to get the necessary certification for their products, as this would enable them to compete favourably in the market both within and outside the country.
It is also important that all products being marketed in Nigeria be formally registered with SON for traceability and confirmation of quality status.
Published on Tuesday, June 25, 2019
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