A global managed service provider needed to deliver telecom devices to support their local office in Lagos, Nigeria. They were looking for a partner that had experience with the complicated SONCAP product certification process in Nigeria. Without a local business registered in the country, our client also required an Importer of Record service.
Lagos, Africa’s largest city, has experienced rapid growth in their startup and technology scene. In 2016, Nigerian startups raised the most direct investment on the continent. As Africa’s most promising tech startups continue to see success, large global companies are taking notice. Most notably, well-known silicon valley tech companies have announced plans to open developer spaces in Lagos. All this investment in technology startups makes Lagos the most promising tech hub on the continent.
THE PLAN AND EXECUTION
Importers need to provide both a Form ‘M’ and a SONCAP certificate for each product they are looking to import into Nigeria. The client had no experience with this process and was looking for a partner to manage the shipment from start to finish. As a full service global logistics provider, FGX worked directly with an accredited product certification company and our customs agents in Lagos to complete all the documentation and inspections needed on the clients behalf. After FGX received the required approvals, the equipment was booked on a direct flight to Lagos, Nigeria. When it landed in Lagos, the gear was lodged into customs immediately.
IMPORT DOCUMENTATION & CERTIFICATION
The Form ‘M’ is a document issued by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) that declares the intention of the goods entering the country. The shipment cannot move without this form. We worked with our customs specialists in Lagos to complete the invoice and Combined Certificate of Value and Origin (CCVO) with the required information. We ensured the harmonized tariff codes for each specific product was properly chosen and declared on the documents. Once this was complete, our local agents submitted the documents to receive this form. After 4 business days the approved Form ‘M’ was issued.
The Standards Organisation of Nigeria (SON) oversees the SON Conformity Assessment (SONCAP) program that ensure all imports comply with countries guidelines. The two step process consists of receiving a PC certification and passing an inspection by an accredited testing firm. We received the PC certificate by providing all of the required product test reports (sourced from our manufacturer contacts) as well as copies of the export documentation. Once the PC certificates were in hand, we arranged for an on-site inspection with our product certification partner. The shipment passed the inspection on the first attempt and we were promptly issued the final SONCAP certificates to proceed with import.
IMPORTER OF RECORD / CUSTOMS CLEARANCE
FGX’s Importer of Record service allowed our client to import IT hardware into Nigeria without a registered business entity or an import license of their own. Our local team was able to clear the shipment through customs in 5 days with the proper Form ‘M’ and SONCAP certificates. After clearance, the shipment was recovered from LOS airport and promptly delivered to our client’s local office. Telecom gear is highly regulated in many countries and Nigeria is no exception. The expertise of our local agents ensured there were no delays during the entirety of the import and customs clearance process.
FGX’s full suite of logistics services allowed us to manage the shipment door-to-door with little involvement from the client. Working directly with government agencies and customs agents, we procured all the required approvals and certifications to import the gear properly. In the end, our client saved 12% overall by purchasing telecom gear in the USA and deploying it to their local Nigeria office. After experiencing a shipment with FGX, our client now sees it is possible to purchase IT equipment domestically and deploy it internationally; even into countries with complex import processes.