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Jaiz Bank: Clear tactics by Customs to deny Nigerians access to ongoing e-Auction?

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The continued access to the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) e-auction portal only from the not well known and poor branch networked Jaiz Bank for one week running has been viewed by many Nigerians as a deliberate strategy by the leadership of the Service to eliminate Nigerians from across the nation to be part of the deal.

Jaiz Bank has its head office in Abuja with only 21 branches across the nation. Apart from the northern part where it has many of the branches because of its affiliation to Islamic religion, it has one branch each in Ibadan, Ilorin, Port Harcourt and Lagos. It has no branch in the entire South East.

On the day of the flag off, the Comptroller general of Customs told Nigerian that all the 23 commercial banks have been networked to be part of the e-auction, but more than one week after, 22 other duty collecting banks are yet to be activated.

Though the NCS had claimed on Monday that other 22 out of the 23 duty collecting banks who applied for the operations of the new e-auction bidding and transactions process in the clearance of goods and vehicles at the ports and other customs outlets are yet to comply with requirements for approval to operate, Nigerians who are willing to bid especially in Lagos and the entire South East have started suspecting a clear tactics to sideline a good number of prospective bidders.

A statement by the Customs image maker, Deputy Comptroller of Customs, Mr. Joseph Attah claimed that allegations that the Service was favourably disposed to the operations of only one of the 23 banks that applied, ‘Jaiz bank’, hence the approval for the bank to operate e-auction transaction was misplaced.

He was further of the view that once the 22 other banks pass through to user acceptability test with all the banks including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), which was agreed to, they will become partners in the implementation of the e-auction transaction.

He was silent on what actually amounts to the user acceptability test which both old and new generations’ banks cannot pass, but Jaiz Bank that has the most limited number of branches in the first instance.

Some of the aggrieved Lagosians who wished to bid argued that for the limited number of branch network and poor spread, Jaiz Bank is not supposed to be part of the process in the first instance.

The Customs statement said in parts: “There have been public complaints, questions and commentaries on the Nigeria Customs Service e-auction platform which was officially launched on the 3rd of July 2017 by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd).

“The Service wishes to make some clarifications especially as the inability of other commercial banks to hook up to the platform is creating inconveniences that could lead to wrong perception that pinged on the integrity of the process.

Consequently, the Nigeria Customs Service wishes to state as follows; “that all the 23 Customs duty collecting banks were carried along, properly trained in the process”.

“When the platform was developed, it was subjected to user acceptability test with all the banks including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)”

“Throughout this period, no bank indicated any problem with the platform.”

“However, upon launch of the platform only Jaiz Bank was discovered to be ready and active on the platform.

“In the light of the above, the Service immediately wrote a letter to all the designated banks requesting them to “integrate with the e-auction application for the recharging of e-wallet” same day 3rd July 2017.

“On Wednesday 5th July 2017 another letter was sent to CBN expressing the need for the Apex bank to confirm the readiness of Commercial Banks under its supervision to perform their roles in the process to ensure the success of the project.

“While we are being told that other banks are making frantic efforts to sort out whatever technical problem that is to hook up to the platform, this clarification is necessary to correct whatever wrong insinuation that could be generated as a result of having only one bank presently on the platform.

“Despite the initial hitches, the Service is happy to announce that the first 48 hours bidding period, Monday 12 noon to Wednesday 12 noon produced 43 winners.

“Items uploaded were 130 vehicles, 43 bided for and won.

“While 282 people registered, 268 were enabled with 245 able to generate e-wallet assessment.

“Out of 177 that recharged their e-wallets, 68 bided and 43 emerged as winners.

“The second round of bidding starts today Monday 10th July 2017 and will stop at 12 noon on Wednesday 12th July 2017.

“While looking forward to seeing more banks hook to the platform and ease the process for bidders, we wish to assure the general public of the Service determination to ensure that the transparent and accountable e-auction process succeeds.

“The Service resolve is motivated by the core benefits of generating more revenue for the Federal Government while providing equal opportunities to all Nigerians” Customs noted.


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