What is accreditation?

Accreditation is a formal third party confirmation that organizations providing conformity assessment services are technically competent and impartial to carry out their specific activities.

Through the application of national and international standards, government, businesses and consumers can have confidence in the calibration and test results, inspection reports and certifications provided.

Who needs accreditation?

If you have a product that you want to sell domestically or internationally, you will have to determine the applicable safety standards, regulations and codes that apply to that product.

International customers will expect some proof that the product meets their expectations for safety and quality. You will provide that proof by having the product tested/certified by a Conformity Assessment Body (CAB). The CAB will give you a certificate stating that the product meets the standards expected by the customers.

But… can we trust the information provided by a CAB? Do we know whether these CABs are competent enough to perform those evaluations? The importers, the authorities and the final consumers need to trust the information provided by the CABs. Therefore, someone needs to evaluate whether the CABs are truly competent. In Nigeria, NiNAS will evaluate the competence of the CABs. The primary purpose of NiNAS is ensuring that CABs are subject to oversight.

During the accreditation process, the assessors assess whether the CAB is reliable, competent and impartial, and whether it fulfills the necessary standards. If it does, the CAB is accredited.

(A CAB could be a laboratory, a certification body or an inspection body).

Why do we need international accreditation in Nigeria?

Nigeria has a large number of CABs that test, calibrate or certify products and services.

Some of these CABs are accredited to national standards. However, national standards are often not enough to avoid the quality issues that hinder exports, e.g.: rejection of consignments due to product failures caused by questionable test results, re-testing of products due to inaccurate measurement caused by poorly or non-calibrated equipment, rejection of orders by not being able to support products claims with an internationally-recognized accreditation certificate or test report…

Very few CABs in Nigeria are currently accredited to international standards. Until now, there was no accreditation body based in Nigeria to assess the competence of these CABs to international standards. In fact, Nigerian CABs seeking internationally recognized accreditation had to refer to foreign accreditation bodies. This made the accreditation process cumbersome and only affordable to a few.

NiNAS is a Nigerian accreditation body. This makes NiNAS more accessible and cost-effective than overseas accreditation bodies.

 

In short, accreditation is an assurance that the work done by laboratories, certification bodies and other types of CABs, is reliable.

 

Accreditation is not:

Accreditation is:

  • Accreditation is not a quality certificate.
  • Accreditation is not an export certificate.
  • Accreditation is not having quality management certification (ISO 9001).
  • Accreditation is recognition of the CAB’s competency.
  • Accreditation does not mean the CAB is technically competent to do everything. Accreditation does not guarantee each and every measurement/ test/ certification/ inspection made by the CAB.
  • Accreditation is granted for specific assessment activities. Users of CABs services should check the CABs’ Scope of Accreditation.
  • Accredited once does not mean that CABs are competent forever to perform their tasks.
  • Accreditation needs to be renewed periodically.
  • Products and services are not accredited.
  • Businesses (e.g. manufacturers, exporters, etc.) are not accredited.
  • Only CABs are accredited.