Electronic auction of Customs cargo commences July 1

—as NAGAFF lauds initiative

Funso Olojo || The long-awaited electronic auction of cargo introduced by the present management of Nigeria Customs Service is expected to come on stream this Saturday, July 1st, 2017.

The proposed electronic platform is expected to replace and sanitise the less transparent and chaotic manual process with was fraught with fraud.

Freight Forwarders have however expressed confidence in the proposed electronic platform, saying it will sanitise the auctioning process of Customs cargo.

The National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF) Secretary, Ikorodu Chapter, Mr. Obinna Okafor, believed that with the online bidding transaction, the sales expected to commence on July 1st would be simplified and fraud free.

“This is in pursuance of an all-embracing reform in the service to correcting the ills at the ports involving officers, and ensuring that there is transparency in whatever the service does,’’ Ali said, adding that the electronic platform was already undergoing user acceptability test.

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Okafor, a freight forwarder in the Ikorodu Overtime and Auction Customs Terminal Command, commended the Customs for going online in the bidding process.

“The online auctions is what the stakeholders are yearning for, it will restore the people’s confidence in the service and create a rancour-free atmosphere in the whole transaction.

“It is advisable for customs to give preference to the industry stakeholders in the whole exercise to cushion the effect of job loss due to cargo seizures and overtime of containers,’’ Okafor said.

The NAGAFF scribe regretted that the industry was still witnessing overtime and seizure of cargoes at this time of economic downturn.

Okafor said that efforts should be made to discourage cases of overtime and seizure of cargoes as a way of sanitising the industry.

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He said that the essence of the auction was to decongest the ports to create room for other cargoes to enter.

“It will not be good for terminal operators to hinder the process with frivolous charges to allottees,

it can undermine the process.

“Issues of double allocation, which marred the previous ones, should be nipped in the bud by the Customs for stakeholders to have confidence in the electronically-driven sales,’’ he said.

Okafor said that the 2014 and 2015 auction sales attracted litigations with some cases still pending in various courts.

He believed that with the online programme, most of the undoing of the previous auction sales will be curtailed, offering greater room for enabling business environment.