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Losses looms as Customs e-auction generates only N49m, 254 winners in 1 month

Barley one month after the flag off of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) e-Auction of seizures, the Service has said it generated N49 million on e-auction platform and recorded 254 winners in four weeks across the country.

The scheme started on July 3 with over 10,000 items marked for sales, but figures released by the agency showed that only 254 winners which translate to same number items as being sold, an indication that the auction may become endless.

Contrary to the claims of the Service that it has raked in N49m, analysts say is not yet government revenue because the participating banks and portal administrators will deduct their commission. This means that government is yet to make any real income from the e-option.

Analysts say the as time goes on, the scheme will continue to consume what it is raking in for the government and as such become a cancer that rips off what is gathered.

For example, if it takes one month to dispose 254 items out of over 10,000, it means that more than one year will be needed to clear all the seizures earmarked for auction.

Investigations show that government is yet to breakeven considering the total cost of the infrastructure and logistics put in place by Customs to drive the rarely popular e-auction.

Unlike before when the Customs auction is done manually, it take average of less than one months to clear all slated goods as government will make enough money in very short time.

However, in a statement by the Service spokesperson, Mr. Joseph Attah, he said only 6,560 persons were able to recharge their e-wallet of N1000 administrative fee to participate in the bidding process.

The statement noted that “Four weeks after the official launch of the NCS e-auction platform, https: by the Comptroller-General of Customs, retired Col. Hameed Ali, a total number of 254 winners have emerged across the country with over N49 million already generated.

“NCS has already taken steps to deal with the challenges posed by fraudulent bidders who log in to frustrate other genuine bidders by placing bogus and unrealistic figures.

“In some cases, they send SMS to supposed winners congratulating them.

Apart from de-activating the Tax Identification Numbers (TIN) of these elements, the option for second highest bidder to win when the highest winner fails to pay has been jettisoned.

“In such situation, the item reverts to the system for fresh bidding. Winners are informed only through e-mails from the system not by SMS,” Attah said.

According to him, the System is being re-programmed to automatically reject such criminal antics.

Attah advised fraudulent bidders to keep off the platform and allow interested Nigerians to reap the benefits of the transparent system that presented equal opportunity to all.

He said that NCS resolve to ensure the success of the e-auction, was motivated by the inherent benefits of the platform.

Customs also noted that “with 19 commercial banks hooked to the platform, interested bidders now have the option of choosing banks nearest to them for ease of transactions”.

“For the avoidance of doubt, NCS wishes to assure the general public that the e-auction platform will continue to go live for 48 hours between Monday, 12 noon to Wednesday, 12 noon every week,” he added.

Additional discovery showed that Nigerians are losing confidence as the level of bidders keep dropping on a daily basis due to the inconsistency of the portal and poor awareness of the entire e-option.

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