The Nigeria Customs Service has said that Jaiz Bank, which many have identified basically as owned by investors from the northern part of the country is the only commercial bank prepared and duly equipped for its electronic auction platform.

Recall that the Comptroller General of the service, Col. Hameed Ali Rtd. had officially launched the platform on July 3, 2017 ahead of the commencement of the auction last week.

But shortly after the commencement of the exercise, there were myriads of public complaints, questions and commentaries on the exercise, as the platform became in accessible to the public at a point in time.

However in reaction to these complaints and petitions, the service has said it has become necessary to make some clarifications especially as to the inability of other commercial banks to link up to the electronic platform and thus causing inconveniences to the members of the public.

A statement signed by the National Public Relations Officer of the service, Joseph Attah on behalf of the Comptroller General of the service Monday says that if not addressed, such inconveniences might lead to wrong perceptions that could question he integrity of the entire process, which might defeat the true essence of adopting the e-auction option to forestall human contact.

According to the CG, all the 23 commercial banks approved by the service for the collection of import duty revenue and other related charges were duly informed and given equal opportunity to participate in the exercise but regretted that many of them could not hook-up, a development that gave rise to some of such complaints.

The statement reads in part: “Consequently, the Nigeria Customs Service wishes to state that all the 23 customs duty collecting banks were carried along, properly trained in the process and that when the platform was developed, it was subjected to user acceptability test with all the banks including the Central Bank of Nigeria CBN”.

The CG also said that throughout the period of test run of the programmes, no bank hinted of any anticipated problem with the platform, adding that it came as a rude shock that the platform, which was earlier given a clean bill of health, was being questioned.

“However, upon the launch of the platform, only Jaiz Bank was discovered to be ready and active on the platform. In the light of the above, the service immediately wrote a letter to all the designated banks requesting them to integrate with the e-auction application for the recharging of e-wallet” same day 3rd July 2017”, the statement also said..

It was further gathered that on Wednesday July 5, 2017 precisely two days after the official launch, the service forwarded yet another letter to the CBN expressing the need for the apex bank to confirm the readiness of the other commercial banks under its supervision to perform their roles in the process to ensure the success of the project.

The CG also disclosed that while the management of the service was  told that other banks are making frantic efforts to sort out whatever technical problem that is to hook up to the platform, this clarification is necessary to correct whatever wrong insinuation that could be generated as a result of having only one bank presently on the platform.

He therefore insisted that despite the initial hitches, the Service is happy to announce that the first 48 hours bidding period, Monday 12 noon to Wednesday 12 noon produced 43 winners.

Available statistics show that some of the uploaded items were 130 vehicles, in which a total of 43 items were bided for and won.

Other details show that 282 people registered, 268 were enabled with 245 able to generate e-wallet assessment. Out of 177 that recharged their e-wallets, 68 bided and 43 emerged as winners.

The second round of bidding starts today Monday 10th July 2017 and will stop at 12 noon on Wednesday 12th July 2017.

While looking forward to seeing more banks hook to the platform and ease the process for bidders, we wish to assure the general public of the Service determination to ensure that the transparent and accountable e-auction process succeeds.

The Service resolve is motivated by the core benefits of generating more revenue for the Federal Government while providing equal opportunities to all Nigerians.

The CG had said at the official launch of the platform that the choice of electronic auction system was to enhance its abuse and integrity unlike what used to obtain before now.