By NBF News

Standards Organisation of Nigeria says it will start enforcing its newly revised 0ff-shore Conformity Assessment Programme popularly called SONCAP before the end of January 2012.

SONCAP is a product conformity scheme whose objectives are ensuring imported products comply with Nigeria Industrial Standards (NIS), and prevent the dumping of sub-standard goods into the Nigeria market thus preventing economic loss to importer and the nation at large.

The programme was also designed to identify those goods, which pose the highest risk to consumers in Nigeria and ensure that their claims of safety are verified before they are exported to Nigeria.

Speaking at a meeting with stakeholders to review the document last week, SON Director General, Dr. Joseph Odumodu said, 'We have listened to you and have taken your suggestions through our rapporteurs, affirming we will make the revised document available to stakeholders before the end of January next year.

Odumodu noted that the scheme was introduced seven years ago, but its success was minimal as the influx of substandard goods dropped from 85 percent to 70 percent in seven years.

Corroborating, the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Dr. Samuel Ortom, said that government is concerned about the objectives for which SONCAP was introduced is not being fully achieved.

'There are instances of stakeholders looking for loopholes through application for exemptions as well as cases of forgery of the certificates to circumvent the programme,' he said

Vanguard learnt that under the new SONCAP regime, pre-shipment inspection will now be done 100 percent.

SONCAP will now be used as Customs Clearance document as the programme will now be integrated into the Nigeria Customs Service on-line clearing platform- Automated System of Customs Data (ASYCUDDA++), to ensure that government's target of 48 hours cargo clearance is achieved without compromising the safety and security of the nation and its citizens.