Nigeria - Country Commercial Guide
Trade Standards

Describes standards, identifies the national standards, accreditation bodies, and lists the national testing organization(s) and conformity assessment bodies.

Last published date: 2023-06-06

Overview

Nigeria operates a top-down, government-driven standards system. The two primary government agencies which regulate product standards.  The first, the Standards Organization of Nigeria (SON) – the apex standardization body in Nigeria. The second, the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), which controls the production, trade, or sale of food, drugs, cosmetics, chemicals, detergents, medical devices, and packaged water. Standards set by SON and NAFDAC are mandatory and must be met before any product can be registered or certified. Standardization programs at SON are managed by the Directorate of Standards with the support of technical groups. At the national level, the directorate coordinates the activities of experts and other interested parties known as National Technical Committees to develop the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS). While at the international level, the directorate participates in technical committees of ISO, IEC, AFSEC, CODEX as well as in the harmonization of standards within ECOWAS and Africa.

Standards

In theory, Nigeria accepts standards developed by other organizations including U.S. bodies and does not favor those of its trading partners. SON primarily adopts ISO, American, European, African, and ECOWAS standards. The organization has relationship with the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and adopted 10 of the American Petroleum Institute’s (API) standards for the country’s oil and gas industry in 2019. Nigeria does not have a standards treaty with the United States. Therefore, products made in the U.S. or made to U.S. standards must still undergo SON’s conformity assessment or NAFDAC’s product registration/certification process.

SON’s stated objectives are:

  • Prepare standards relating to products, measurements, materials and processes among others, and their promotion at the national, regional and international levels;
  • Certify industrial products;
  • Provide capacity for local production of quality goods;
  • Improve measurement accuracy; and
  • Circulate information relating to standards

NAFDAC is empowered to “regulate and control the importation, exportation, manufacture, advertisement, distribution, sale, and use of food, drugs, cosmetics, medical devices, bottled water, and chemicals” or regulated products by conducting tests to ensure compliance with standards specifications predetermined by the NAFDAC Council. NAFDAC is also empowered to inspect imported regulated products and production sites, as well as issue certification for regulated products destined for export.

SON’s two major schemes for determining conformity to standards are:

  • Mandatory Conformity Assessment Program (MANCAP): this is a mandatory program which ensures that all locally manufactured products conform to the relevant Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) prior to sale or export
  • SON Conformity Assessment Program (SONCAP): SONCAP checks goods pre-shipment to ensure that imports into Nigeria are in conformity with the applicable NIS or approved equivalents

NAFDAC’s Laboratory Service Directorate is responsible for analyzing quality and compliance with requirements of all regulatory products including imports and exports. The Directorate also monitors products in the market post-registration to ensure standards are maintained, investigates quality complaints by the public and serves as a reference laboratory for other government agencies such as the NCS and the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA).

Product Certification

SON’s product certification is implemented through the following schemes:

  • Voluntary Product Certification Scheme (NIS Mark of Quality) – designed to reward products which consistently comply with the requirements
  • Product-Type Certification for Exports – products in a specific consignment are tested for conformance with applicable standards

NAFDAC’s Registration and Regulatory Affairs Directorate is responsible for certifying products following testing by the Laboratory Service Directorate, as well as other conformity assessment exercises. The Directorate also undertakes investigation of public complaints and post-registration surveillance and serves as coordinator for foreign Goods Manufacturing Practices (GMP) in Nigeria.

Testing, Inspection & Certification

SON’s conformity assessment focuses on third party assessments of products and processes. Nevertheless, SON has expertise in assessing product conformity in the several areas, including chemical, inorganic, and textile testing with ISO/IEC 17025 accreditation for its chemistry laboratory. Testing of international products is typically outsourced to international testing laboratories.

NAFDAC has accredited consultants with requisite knowledge of laws and regulations related to foods and drugs regulation in Nigeria and worldwide. These consultants assist firms to meet regulatory requirements for local production, sale, and export. A full list of consultants is available on the NAFDAC website.

Publication of Technical Regulations

SON standards are outlined in the Nigerian Industrial Standards (NIS) which “provides, for common and repeated use, rules, guidelines, or characteristics for products and services and related processes or production methods, aimed at the achievement of the optimum degree of order in each context.” The NIS is reviewed by several of the under-listed technical groups under the leadership of SON’s Director of Standards Department and approved by SON’s Standard Council. A technical library serves as the compendium for all published standards.

Technical Groups:

  • Electrical/electronic
  • Food/codex
  • Chemical technology
  • Civil/building
  • Service Standards
  • Mechanical/metrology
  • Textile/leather
  • International standards

The ePing SPS&TBT platform (https://epingalert.org/), or “ePing”, provides access to notifications made by WTO Members under the Agreements on Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS) and Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), distributed by the WTO from January 16, 1995 to present.  ePing is available to all stakeholders free of charge and does not require registration unless the user wishes to receive customized e-mail alerts. Use the system to browse notifications on past as well as new draft and updated product regulations; food safety and animal and plant health standards and regulations; find information on trade concerns discussed in the WTO SPS and TBT Committees; locate information on SPS/TBT Enquiry Points and notification authorities; and to follow and review current and past notifications concerning regulatory actions on products, packaging, labeling, food safety and animal and plant health measures in markets of interest.

Notify U.S., operated and maintained by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) since 2003 to distribute and provide access to notifications (and associated draft texts) made under the WTO TBT Agreement for US stakeholders, has reached its end of life.  Per obligation under the TBT Agreement, each WTO Member operates a national TBT (and an SPS) Enquiry Point.   National TBT Enquiry Points are authorized to accept comments and official communications from other national TBT Enquiry Points, which are NOT part of the WTO or the WTO Secretariat.  All comment submissions from U.S. stakeholders, including businesses, trade associations, U.S domiciled standards development organizations and conformity assessment bodies, consumers, or U.S. government agencies on notifications to the WTO TBT Committee should be sent directly to the USA WTO TBT Inquiry Point.  Refer to the comment guidance at https://tsapps.nist.gov/notifyus/data/guidance/guidance.cfm for further information.

NAFDAC maintains a compendium of its regulations and guidelines on its website. These include its key regulations on cosmetics, foods, drugs, chemicals, herbal products, and infant formula.

It is important to note that even in instances where SON and NAFDAC regulations are thorough and clear in documentation, the best practice is to inquire about any changes to regulations and approach each issue on a case-by-case basis.

Contact Information

Contact details for SON’s Corporate Headquarters are as follows:

52, Lome Crescent,

Wuse Zone 7, Abuja

Nigeria.

E-mail: info@son.gov.ng, customerfeedback.collaboration@son.gov.ng

Phone: +234(0)8002255766, +234(0)7056990099

Customer Feed Back Desk: +23470322800925, +2348159570003

Website: https://son.gov.ng/

 

Contact details for NAFDAC Corporate Headquarters are as follows:

Plot 2032, Olusegun Obasanjo Way

Wuse Zone 7, Abuja

E-mail:  nafdac@nafdac.gov.ng

Phone: 09-6718008, 09-5240996

Website: https://www.nafdac.gov.ng/