By Suzzy Tolofari
Abuja – The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), says it will soon start using electronic platform to conduct it auctions as part of measures to ensure transparency in the sale of seized goods.
Mr Joseph Attah, NCS spokesman, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Friday in Abuja that the platform was presently undergoing user acceptability test.
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“What that means is that in the very near future in a matter of weeks, the NCS will officially deploy its trade portal.
“So the auction excises will be electronically driven. So when we say e-auction platform, (we mean) a platform in our trade portal that gives opportunity to all interested people to see what they want with full description of its present state.
“That is the condition that particular thing is and allows people to bid. Eventually the victory goes to the highest bidder at the end of the bidding process.’’
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According to Attah, the manual process of auctioning discouraged competition in the selection of beneficiaries and was opened to abuse.
Attah said that the customs boss, retired Col. Hameed Ali, suspended the auctioning of goods to strengthen the process and provide equal opportunity for interested persons.
He added that what an interested bidder would require was an authentic Tax Identification Number (TIN) from the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).
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“Before this is officially deployed we considered it necessary to adequately sanitise members of the public so that those things they should get ready before its deployment they will be able to get them ready.
“What they need to get ready most importantly now, is the Tax Identification Number (TIN). In other word if you want to be part of this e-auction exercise, you have to approach the FIRS and get your TIN. It is open to all.
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He said other requirement for the bid included a copy of a recent passport photograph and a N1,000 non-refundable administrative charges to be paid into the auction e-wallet.
Attah said that the e-auction application would be accessible online through the NCS trade portal website, www.trade.gov.ng, adding that ‘’no replacement for item auctioned’’.
He said that applicants must enter an agreement to abide by the NCS conditions and terms of the auction.