The number of vehicles in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) continue to increase, as many cars seized from Nigerian importers who ran afoul of the NCS’s rules on importation.
Luxury cars worth ₦30 billion trapped inside NCS warehouse
As reported by The Guardian, thousands of cars which are estimated to be worth about ₦30 billion waste away in many of the Customs warehouses all over the country.
These cars include various brands of old and latest models that were either forfeited by importers or seized from car smugglers through the seaports, borders, and at other locations around the country.
Warehouse of waste. Billions of Naira are trapped under Nigeria customs care
Top cars which were seen by the media on visitation are Range Rover Evolution, Toyota brands that include the Highlander, Land Cruiser, and Hilux, and other Toyota SUVs, sedans and buses. There are other cars that include quite a number of Mercedes models such as the G-wagon, and Benz 4matic of different models. Also, other auto brands in the warehouses are Ford, Porsche, and Lexus. These too include trucks, sedans, SUVs and other body types.
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NCS attempts in solving the problem
On July 3rd, 2017, an e-auction site (app.trade.gov.ng/e-auction) was introduced by the Comptroller-General of the NCS, Hameed Ali, though the site experienced a few hitches.
About ₦346.1 million naira has been realized from the last phase of the auto auction where 753 bidders bid on 806 cars which was uploaded onto the site. Late May of this year, there was another auction that began but didn’t last a month before it was discontinued. As far as we know, lately, the e-auctions are delayed because of the issue associated with banks’ e-wallets, which the Customs Public Relations Officer; Deputy Comptroller Joseph Attah confirmed has prevented bidders from making payments.
More cars slowly losing their value in NCS custody
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When the media contacted the banks on the issue, they commented that the NCS should work out their issues and stop looking for whom to blame. The Nigeria Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc. (NIBSS) added that the NCS should state their specific problem so as to know where to assist.
It was also observed that some of these vehicles, which have sat in these warehouses for too long, were losing value; this includes the cars at the TinCan Island Command in Lagos and those at the Seme Customs, FOU Zone A, Ikeja, Idoroko Command.
Bolaji Akinola, who speaks for Seaport Terminal Operators of Nigeria (STOAN), added that over 5,000 cars were wasting at the docks alone, and also occupying space which would have been used for other goods.
As the NCS is selling the cars in the best way they choose to, there are fraudsters who are using social media to scam Nigerians in the guise of custom officers.