Importers have 90 days to clear SONCAP default goods as SON prepares to end EPCC system

The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has said it would end the regime of electronic provision clearance certificate (EPCC) regime as a result of massive abuse by importers.

SON advised all stakeholders involved in the importation of SON regulated products to go back to certifying their products offshore before bringing them in.
Director-General, SON, Dr. Paul Angya, however said it will reopen the SONCAP Portal for use for 90 days during which epcc goods will be subjected to physical examination before release.
The effective date would between April 25 and July 24, with the DG warning that after this period, importers with epcc goods would be made to face the wrath of the law.
Angya warned that after July 24, any imports without SONCAP certification will be detained and charged a fine of 20 percent of the value of the goods and the goods will be subjected to rest.
“If the goods pass they are released to the stakeholders. If they fail, they will be destroyed and the importer also requested to pay for the destruction”, Angya told
stakeholders made up of importers, freight forwarders, traders’ associations from major markets at a forum in Lagos Tuesday .
Angya recalled that before September 10, 2015, the SONCAP certification were carried out and hard copy certification were issued for processing Form M and Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR), adding that this was abused in all form by stakeholders to the detriment of the national economy.
He said that it was this that made SON to decide to use information technology to enhance the security of the SONCAP process by issuing e-certificate integrated to the National Integrated Customs Information System (NICIS) for direct use for processing Form M and PAAR.
He explained that in doing this, SON introduced epcc in line with the World Trade Organsiation (WTO) requirements to ensure that trade concerns processed before the new process did not suffer any consequences or delays, leading to the opening of epcc for 90 days, between September 10 and December 9, last year.
But he regretted that this became the route of bringing in goods without SONCAP certification, a development, he said has resulted into massive importation of substandard goods into the country.
According to him, “more than 60 percent of imports are by passing the regulation process using the epcc and other gimmicks. 
"We cannot continue permanently with the EPCC regime, the EPCC has to be stopped at a point and all stakeholders involved in the importation of SON regulated products to go back to certifying their products offshore before bringing them in.”
He explained that the SONCAP certification of products before imports had advantage for businesses and national economy, adding that importers are assured of the quality of the goods they are bringing into the country.
The DG also warned importers to desist from importation of substandard goods, adding that information reaching the organisatiopn showed that importers travel to China to request specifically for substandard goods for the sake of making more money.
He warned that very soon such importers who are not ready to change would have themselves to blame, as SON was determined to end the era of substandard goods being imported into the country.
He revealed that efforts have been made to get Chinese manufacturers to stop manufacturing substandard goods for Nigeria, adding that an MOU would be signed for that effect soon.
Emphasising the dangers of substandard products to the society, including the security risk, he warned that those who are not ready to change would suffer the full force of the law.
Credit: Shipping Day