© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
UPDATED: Customs e-auction portal not functioning more than 24 hours after launch
The Nigerian Customs Service (NCS) launched its e-auction portal on Monday but the website remained inaccessible until late Tuesday evening — more than 24 hours after the unveiling ceremony.
A press conference was held at the customs headquarters in Abuja on Monday where Hameed Ali, the Customs Comptroller General, unveiled the facility and called on interested Nigerians to take advantage of it.
Ali said the e-auction initiative is part of efforts by the Service to eliminate the sharp practices that had characterised the manual auction system, as well as grow its revenue generation capacity.
“The launching of the e-auction platform today marks complete departure from the manual process of the past that was opened to abuses,” Ali said.
“Since my assumption of duty as the CGC, suspension order was placed on the manual auction to give way to the development of an electronic platform that will be secure, transparent, and capable of increasing revenue as well as providing equal opportunities for all Nigerians who are interested in the process.
“What we are doing today is in line with the guidelines of the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA). It is therefore my pleasure to formally launch the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) e-auction platform and to wish all bidders good luck.”
But as at the time of filling this report, the portal is yet to open.
“Dear user, The requested page was not found (error 404),” read a message on the website.
In the meantime, below are all you need to know about the Customs e-auction system.
ALL YOU NEED TO KNOW
Interested participants in the auction process are to visit https://app.trade.gov.ng/eauction where they will be required to log in with a Tax Identification Number (TIN) issued by Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
The TIN is proof that one pays one’s taxes according to the laws of the country.
The applicant will also be required to upload a recent passport photograph and pay a non-refundable fee of N1000 as administrative charge. Bidders shall be allowed to bid for more than 2 items per bidding window.
Successful bidders will be required to make payment within five working days, failure of which the auctioned item will be reverted to the second highest bidder. Also, the successful bidder shall in addition pay 25% charges each for the Shipping line and Terminal operator.
Winners have 14 days from the date of payment to remove the item paid for and any item not removed from the warehouse within 14 days shall revert to its pre-bidding status and may be put up for auction again.
For claiming of items, the winner shall present; a valid copy of paid assessment and bank receipt (optional in case of e-payment); an E-mailed code to identify owner after payment; a notarized letter in case owner sends representative (where owner is present, uploaded photo on registration will do); a proper identification such as International passport, Driver’s licence, Voters card or National I.D.
The dwell time for the Online Auction Sale is 28 days.
Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service are excluded from participating in the auction. Also, owner of a seized item is excluded from bidding for same.