The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has stepped up its national market expansion drive with the opening of a new e-auction portal for disposing of seizures that have undergone the process of court condemnation.
According to the service, “ only tax payers with federal inland revenue service (FIRS) issued tax identification umber (TIN) will be eligible to participate in the new regime of auction sales of seized items by the customs service.
“The portal, www. trade gov.ng requires application to imput recent passport photo with a payment of non refundable administrative fees of N1000
The new e -auction portal for the sales of seized items at customs commands across the country is expected to reduce congestion in the various government warehouse and increase revenue from the sales.
The Comptroller- General of customs , Col- Hammed Ali, (rtd) introduce the process as a way of enhancing transparency, reduce human contacts, and ensure that only the higher bidders, for any auctioned items takes it.
Aside tax identification number (TIN) by prospective bidders, other terms and conditions includes exclusion of customs officers and their families from participating in the bidding process either directly or by proxy.
The guidelines also indicate that auctioned items cannot be replaced or fund paid refunded to bidders.
It was also gathered that successful bidders are expected to make payment within five working days as auctioned items whose winners fail to pay within the period forfeit the auctioned items to the second highest bidders.
According to the customs, successful bidders will be given a period of 14 days from the date of payment to remove the items bidded for or forfeit the auction at the expiration of the period
“Any auctioned item not removed from the warehouse within 14 days from the date of payment shall revert to its pre- bidding status which makes such items open for sale again”
Winners in the auction process are also expected to pay 25 % of the auction amount to the terminal operators with another 25% of the auctions amount to the shipping line operator, owners of seized items are excluded from bidding for them but may however participate in the bidding of other items, while owners of overtime items with evidence of payment of duty and other charges has priority over a successful bidder of the item provided the item has not be exicted out of customs control.
Interested per sons will be expected to access what is put for sales through NCS trade portal i.e www trade gov.ng,interest to bid and the system will trigger victory to the highest bidders.
The new auction policy is coming 19 months after customs auctions were suspended following the voluntary retirement of the former comptroller – general of customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi. There has been media reports that seized goods
amounting to billions of naira that have been condemned through court process are lying in the warehouses.
When contacted, the customs spokesman, AC Joseph Attah ,said the CGC took time to entrench the new method that requires deploying of ICT, avoiding human contact and influences.
He said apart from increases of revenue for government, the online platform will ensure integrity of the process.
Attah added that the new system is undergoing a test run for applicant acceptability before it is open to the public for access and transaction.
Billions of naira is expected to be generated from the sales which includes cars, trucks, tankers, leather and other items seized from smuggling who ostensibly wanted to evade duty payment
It would be recalled that President Buhari early 2016 approved the distribution of perishable items like rice, soap, clothe, vegetable oil etc to internally displaced persons (IDP) Camps in the North East.
Nkpemenyie Mcdominic, Lagos