The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), among other duties, regulates vehicles imported into the country. Shipments that fail to meet the stipulated regulations are seized and kept in the command's possession. In a bid to get rid of these items, they are auctioned to interested parties. For long, the auction was executed manually – a process reported to be cumbersome, and that reeked of corruption. The result of this anomaly is an estimated loss of vehicles reportedly worth over ₦70 billion.
Majority of the vehicles were seized from smugglers
Stakeholders in the vehicle importation field were excited when it was announced that the Nigeria Customs Service had introduced e-auction in 2017. According to the Comptroller-General of the service, Hameed Ali, the electronic system would make the auction process seamless, leaving no room for corrupt practices. He explained that the e-auction would close loopholes in the manual auction process.
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The manual auction process had led to the abandonment of several cars in the various Customs’ warehouses, making them over congested. With the introduction of the e-auction system, seized vehicles would be auctioned speedily, creating more room in the warehouses.
Upon commencement of the electronic process, there were reports of challenges experienced in getting in tune with the new technology. However, operations continued until 2018 when it was put on hold. A total number of 806 vehicles were uploaded on the e-auction website with about 753 individuals bidding for them. A total of ₦346.1 million was reportedly generated in the course of operations.
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Auctioning of vehicles has been pending since the e-auction was halted. As a result of this, the commands’ warehouses are overpopulated with vehicles reportedly worth over ₦70 billion wasting away. These vehicles are of various brands and categories, including the highly sophisticated ones. Until something is done to save the day, the waste will not stop any time soon.
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