The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) on Monday unveiled an electronic auction platform by which cargoes that have been forfeited to the Federal Government could be sold to Nigerians through a transparent bidding process.
The unveiling of the e-auction platform was performed at the headquarters of the NCS by the Comptroller-General of Customs, Col Hameed Ali (Rtd).
Present at the event were members of the e-auction committee made up of representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Standards Organisation of Nigeria, and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control among others.
Ali described the launching of the platform as a game-changer for the service as it would bring about a regime of transparency and consistency in the disposal of seized vehicles to Nigerians.
He said the approval of the electronic platform was done based on the conviction that it would assist in checking the abuse which the manual auction process was subjected to in the past.
Ali said it was the realisation of the abuse in the manual auctioning system that made him suspend it when he assumed office last year.
He said, “The launching of the e-auction platform today marks a complete departure from the manual process of the past that was opened to abuses.
“In the past, stakeholders had accused the Service of nepotism, short-changing the government of revenue through arbitrary auction fees to be paid by allottees and sundry corruption allegations against the Service.
“Consequently, since my assumption of duty as the CGC, suspension order was placed on the manual auction to give way to development of an electronic platform that will be secured, transparent, capable of increasing revenue as well as providing equal opportunities for all Nigerians who are interested in the process.
“It’s been a long walk to an era of a system that will ensure transparency and accountability in such a way that leaves nobody in doubt that NCS has the capacity to discharge its responsibilities with utmost sincerity.”
He commended the committee for keeping with the decision of the management of Customs to take the path of transparency in the auction of seized and overtime cargoes.
The CGC said the launch of the e-auction portal is within the law of the Service which gives it the powers to dispose seized and overtime cargoes after they must have undergone a judicial process.