The Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) has declared zero tolerance for non compliance to the change in the process of obtaining SONCAP certificates through the new E-Certification Platform (ECP), effective from September 10, 2015.
The Director General of SON, Dr. Joseph Odumodu made the disclosure at the introduction of the Integration of SON e-certificates into the Nigeria Integrated Customs Information Systems (NICIS), for processing SONCAP, Form M and PAAR. In Lagos.
According to him, “This project is a Nigerian project designed to make life easier for all to transact from the comfort of their office or home. There may be people in SON or outside SON who may not want this system to work, we must look out for this set of people and eradicate them from the system”.
Odumodu stated that the system which has a dedicated route for manufacturers and non manufacturers, takes the user through the appropriate channel and at the end he gets every document required from SON without making any human contact ,which he described as the source of corruption in the system.
He denied allegations that SON was seeking ways to return to the port but stated emphatically that SON has a responsibility to check the quality of cargo coming into the country to ensure that it meets with stipulated standards.
Speaking further, Odumodu said that the amendment of the SON Act 2015 by the last administration has empowered the agency to arrest, prosecute and send to jail offenders, adding that importers of cables will have to brace up for change.
In his words, “very soon people who bring in cables will stop bringing cables through Seme Border, what we intend, is to make Apapa Ports the only ports through which cables can come into Nigeria, what that means is that if we see cables in any other port like Tincan Island or Seme, we shall remove them and destroy them without any test”.
He warned stakeholders not to be caught doing the wrong thing because they will pay for it, stressing that the days of laxity is over and today is a new dawn of change.
The Comptroller of Customs of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Mr. Benjamin Aber stated that the vision for a new and advanced PAAR is aimed at providing the ultimate service to stakeholders.
He explained that other government agencies working in collaboration with Customs are the owners of the licenses and permits that the Customs work with, so the harmonization of the system is to enable the Customs serve the trading public better.
According to him, “This process is very critical that we collaborate with SON, since they are no longer present in the ports to physically look at containers, we decided that the e-SC be integrated into the NICIS platform to give a more integrated PAAR on line. Our goal is to convert each trade document into a digital document to achieve a common regulatory system that encourages more investment in the industry where everybody has easy access to the system in such a way that encourages legitimate trade”.
Also speaking at the event, the Director Federal Inland Revenue Services (FRIS), Dr. Israel Zubairu stated that the service has been partnering with SON on the issue of the certification of all their procedures and processes and they have been partnering to ensure that they facilitate interaction with tax payers and to ensure that all transactions and contacts with the service is simplified.
He added that the service has commenced the process of the integrated tax acquisition system which allows tax payers file their returns on line without coming to the tax office, attributing most of this to its partnership with SON and affirming that the service is moving to the next level of becoming part of the automation process of trade in Nigeria.