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The Founder of National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Dr Boniface Aniebonam has thrown his weight behind the SONCAP Default Charges, saying it’s a tool for trade facilitation.
In a press statement sent to Platform Reporters yesterday, Aniebonam noted that the SONCAP Default charges is a privilege and not a right. He however maintained that stakeholders and the trading community should appreciate the SON management for facilitating trade without compromising standard.
According to him, “This is again to educate and enlighten freight forwarders and international traders within the supply chain management in the Nigerian ports and approved border entry points that the payment of SONCAP default charges is just a tool for trade facilitation in the Customs ports and approved border entry points of Nigeria.
It is a privilege other than aright. It is a fact of law that all imports into Nigeria must be regulated by the approved Government Agencies charged with such responsibilities. In otherwords all products either as finished products, semi finished products, pharmaceuticals and chemicals must undergo quality assurance test before it is allowed to be placed on sale in the open market for human consumption.
Principally, the Standards Organisation of Nigeria with its wide scope of duty is charged with such responsibility to ensure that all products in the Nigerian market whether imported and/or
manufactured in Nigeria are in conformity with Nigeria product standards and specification.
The right way to go is for every freight agent to understand that international traders are duly expected to obtain and register their product certificate with SON where applicable, as a notification of intent to import a particular product. Thereafter registration with SON office a product certificate is issued in favour of the import.
The offshore SONCAP certificate shall be issued by the accredited inspectors of the Standards Organisation of Nigeria with all details including, but not limited to, proper description, analysis, life-shelf, country of origin and supply etc.
Thereafter, on arrival of products into Nigeria, the importer is expected to apply for Customs Pre-Arrival Assessment Report. Where an importer has failed to follow a due process, the SON may wish to allow the clearance of the product out of Customs control to avoid port congestion.
It is upon this default on due process that SON decided to impose default charge. This does not mean that the concerned importer has substantially complied to SONCAP regulation.
As a follow-up, SON enforcement unit shall be expected to escort the said import to the owners warehouse after Customs clearance to enable it conclude its regulatory duty. The point herein is to educate and inform practitioners that payment of SONCAP default does not mean that the importer of the product has met with all conditions in relation to SONCAP regulation.
May we, therefore add value to our voluntary concern as critical stakeholders to refer practitioners to Act 14, 2015 establishing SON operations. And for the avoidance of doubt, default in relation to
SONCAP regulation may lead to seizure and prosecution of offenders in a law court by the legal department of SON.
It is on the basis of this legal empowerment that stakeholders and the trading community should begin to appreciate the SON management for facilitating trade without compromising standard”.