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SON clarifies demurrage concerns over SONCAP registration

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Osita Aboloma


The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON), has debunked claims by some importers of a purported collapse of the agency’s online application portal used for processing offshore Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP), for regulated imports into the country.
  
According to the SON Director-General, Osita Aboloma, only importers who failed to comply with the pre-shipment process are crying wolf on accumulation of demurrage on their consignments.
 
The agency through the Head, Public Relations, SON, Bola Fashina, said the portal was recently upgraded to ensure optimal performance, enhance a seamless operation and more efficient service delivery to customers and stakeholders alike.
  
SON listed some advantages of the upgraded SONCAP portal to include, a one-stop-shop that provides clients opportunity to apply, track application, send messages to SON and receive responses as well upload evidence of payments seamlessly.
  
Also, profile of the work done and documents used for application are available on Clients’ dashboard, while Tax Identification Number (TIN) error has been resolved, and mistakes in company name no longer occur.
  
SON alluded to a recent challenge in transmitting approved and activated SONCAP certificates to the National trade portal, which it said was not peculiar to SON alone, but all other trade related agencies from January 22, 2020.
  
Fashina said the issue has since been rectified on the national trade portal, and all pending SONCAP certificates transmitted to the Nigerian Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) portal as at February 1.
  
On the claim that imports were accumulating demurrage as a result of the gap, Fashina explained that the SONCAP is a pre-shipment process, adding that only non-compliant importers, who apply for the certificates after the arrival of their consignment, are crying foul.
  
He said some importers who brought in about 182 containers into Nigeria without following the pre-shipment conformity assessment process, are those trying to circumvent established procedure.
 
According to him, such consignment would naturally be subjected to scrutiny, seized if found to be substandard, while those behind them would face prosecution.He advised importers to follow the import procedures strictly by ensuring that they process their product and SONCAP certificates offshore rather than looking for short cuts after the consignment have arrived in Nigeria.

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