Global leader in inspection and certification services, SGS Societies General de Surveillance SA of Geneva –Switzerland, has signed a consultancy agreement with the Federal Government of Nigeria, as a service provider under the Standards Organisation of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme (SONCAP).
The signing ceremony was held at the Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) Lagos Operational Office where Minister of Commerce and Industry, Chief Achike Udenwa, signed the agreement on behalf of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria, while Mr Nigel Balchin signed on behalf of SGS Geneva.
The SONCAP is an offshore programme under which intended imports that fall under SON regulated products have to be tested by an approved laboratory abroad, to ensure compliance with Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS). If the products are compliant, the service provider will issue a Product Certificate (PC) which is required by the importer for the opening of a Form M. Thereafter each shipment has to be verified and covered by a SONCAP Certificate (SC) as one of the documents required for import clearance of SON regulated products.
SONCAP was made mandatory with effect from 1 December 2005, as a policy to check and control the importation of substandard and unsafe products into the country. The programme commenced with a sole service provider, however with the addition of SGS Geneva and another service firm, Nigerian importers and their foreign suppliers can now choose which of the three service providers they wish to use to check that their intended imports conform to specifications of NIS.
Chief Achike Udenwa urged SGS to use its expertise and global network to prevent the flow of fake as well as harmful products into the country. “We know SGS to be a reputable and very professional company; I therefore challenge you to use your good office, expertise and network to see that these substandard and harmful goods don’t come into Nigeria”.
Responding, representative of SGS Geneva, Mr Nigel Balchin, thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for appointing his company as a SONCAP project consultant, adding that his organisation sees the engagement as “as a big honour and we look forward to working closely with SON to combat the importation of substandard goods, that are often dangerous and some are counterfeits.
The participation of SGS, with its global network of offices and laboratories, would lead to a strengthening of the SONCAP to protect Nigeria against imports of substandard and dangerous good whilst facilitating trade through improved levels of service” he assured.