Business Hilights
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System irregularities fueled loss of bidders’ interest in Customs online auction

…Officers decry number of vehicles rotting away at ports, FOUs

Fresh facts have emerged on why nothing is being heard again about online auction of seizures made by the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS).
Investigations by Business Hilights Intelligence Unit (BHIU), an independent research arm of Media Hilights Integrated Company Limited (MHICL), publishers of Business Hilights, revealed that since the third quarter of 2018, bidders for Customs seizures have dropped due to loss of confidence on the digital platform and systems.
Some officers who spoke during the investigations at various commands of the Service in Lagos, in unison, averred that the online auction of goods introduced by the present Customs management could not be sustained due to irregularities in the system, the officer said people have lost confidence in the system and are no longer bidding.
Earlier last year, the General Manager of PTML Terminal, Lagos, Tunde Keshiro said the inability of Customs to extend the digital auctioning of seized items to the high number of overtime cargoes at the terminal is frustrating available space in the port as thousands of uncleared vehicles littered the terminal.
According to him, “The space that is supposed to be given to new cargo is being locked up with all the associated cost of handling the overtime cargo at the terminal. It is on record that since 2015, Customs has not done any cargo auction in the port; be it container or vehicles. The last time they had auction in the port was August 2015 and since that time, we have not recorded any.
“They say they wanted to do e-auction but we are still waiting for it to be implemented for overtime cargo at the port. Electronic auction was done for seized cargoes at the border locations and at FOU (Federal Operations Unit) but when it comes to overtime cargoes at the port commands; we have not recorded any single auction since August 2015,” Keshiro noted.
To the minds of several officers of the Service, the Customs leadership under Ali has dragged Customs backward.
They accuse him of putting the Service in reverse since his appointment.
They are of the view that whenever a serving officer is appointed to head the Service, it will take the new team years to right the wrongs.
Only recently, an Assistant Comptroller of Customs at one of the port commands in Lagos told SHIPS & PORTS DAILY in an interview that “A serving officer will not allow the huge number of overtime cargoes we have in the port today to remain like this. He will know what to do about it because the experience is there. Go to the terminals, the vehicles are all rotting away because of the effects of rain and sun on them. This is economic sabotage. That is the problem with the government in power. They don’t know anything and that is why the system is down and there is poverty everywhere. It is a terrible situation”.