Products imported into Nigeria for commercial purposes are required to be registered with the Standard Organization of Nigeria (SON). This enables the SON to check and verify the quality of all products brought into the Nigerian territory for commercial purposes.

SON registration covers all items to be imported into Nigeria except products covered by the National Agency for & Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) and other regulatory agencies such as Department of Petroleum Resources (DPR) and among others. NAFDAC permit is required for importation of items such as Foods, wines, drugs, medicines and other relative branded products.

The steps to registering products with SON are essentially dependent on the two processes discussed below to wit: Product Certificate and Product Registration with SON (SONCAP).

Product Certificate

Under the import requirements imposed by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in order for importers to clear their products, they need to obtain the Product Certificate from the Manufacturing country of the Products and a SON import permit Certificate for every consignment of regulated goods.

Product certificate is applicable to all suppliers/manufacturers/ Exporters who wish to export goods into Nigeria. Upon the certificate being issued by an Independent Accredited Firm such as SGS, Cotecna, Bureau Veritas, ISO, IAS and UKAS etc, the importer is required to obtain Form M. Importers to declare their intention to import goods into Nigeria and open a Letter of Credit using the Form M. The Product Certificate is the first certificate issued during the certificate process.

Where the product to be imported is Tobacco, the process must commence in Nigeria. The importer must seek the approval of the SON before obtaining the product certificate from the manufacturing country.

Information required for obtaining the Product Certificate for unlicensed goods

  • The Product Certificate (PC) is issued to the manufacturer/supplier as only its details are contained in the certificate. The information about the Manufacturer such as name, address, phone no, email and contact person must be included
  • Place of inspection detail, which is the location the SON agent must inspect goods. it should be noted that this can be the manufacturer/supplier point of business place or another.
  • The importer must provide the shipment detail such as- port of loading, destination port, country of supply, product number, brand and batch.
  • The mode of shipment must also be stated.
  • The sales invoice detail such as the date and invoice number.
  • The condition of product- new, used or refurbished.

Documents to be attached to obtain the Product Certificate

  • Third party test report issued by an accredited laboratory. In the absence of the test report, samples will be taken for testing.
  • Factory inspection report
  • Authorized distribution certificate
  • Product identification Declaration
  • Product specifications sheet
  • Photographs of the product

The PC is issued and valid for six months following the inspection, sampling and testing applicable to Nigerian and international standards.

Product registration with SON

The importer is required to obtain the SONCAP (Standard Organization of Nigeria Conformity Assessment Programme). This process can be completed in Nigeria by the importer and will be used to obtain the Pre-Arrival Assessment Report (PAAR) for clearance of goods from the Nigerian Port.  Form M is used to initiate shipping and customs clearance in Nigeria for any batch of product. The procedure for product registration has been converted to an E-Product Registration.

Documents required to be attached for the Product Registration:

  • Company certificate of incorporation
  • Picture of the product to be imported
  • Power of Attorney drafted in favour of the Importer
  • Manufacturers agreement
  • Trademark certificate (if the company is the manufacturer or importer with a brand name)
  • An excel sheet of all items to be imported for the period stated
  • Sample proforma invoice with items of import with the manufacturer’s details.

The product registration can also be done electronically via SON portal.

The SONCAP is issued upon the following terms for the Product Registration;

  • the form has been duly completed,
  • upon the submission of a valid Product Certificate;
  • upon the completion of consignment inspection and witnessing of stuffing and affixing of seal for full container load and
  •  Lastly upon the receipt of satisfactory final documents.

In conclusion, the regulatory bodies set up by the Federal Government regulate several products imported into Nigeria. SON is one of the key regulatory agencies for the importation of products. All consumer goods are subject to registration by SON before they can be introduced into the market for sale.

There are benefits of registering with SON. Some of which includes enhancing product traceability in the market, to detect counterfeited goods not conforming with the standards of SON and to breach the barrier of circulating substandard goods to protect the lives of citizens.

SON has a duty to ensure that importing companies comply with the policies of the government on standardization as stated above.

By Corporate & Commercial Law Team at Resolution Law Firm


Tel: +2348099223322