Findings by Shipping Position Daily has revealed that the recently revamped e-auction platform of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is yet to gain traction among maritime stakeholders one week after its re-launch.
Recall that in a bid to enhance efficiency and transparency, the NCS re-opened its e-auction portal on Monday January 15th, aligning with the newly enacted Nigeria Customs Service Act 2023.
Despite the strides made, findings by our correspondent revealed that maritime stakeholders are slow to embrace the technology, citing concerns and questions regarding its accessibility and fairness.
In a chat with our correspondent, the National Secretary of the Association of Nigerian Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA) Mr Olumide Fakanlu said he is yet to visit the portal, while also expressing conditional approval if the signing procedure aligns with auction laws. He said discussions within the freight forwarders circles revolve around concerns about the exclusion of importers and the nuanced dynamics of ownership in the context of the revamped e-auction system.
Also speaking, Onome Monije, a freight forwarder, confessed disclosed that he has not visited the portal yet and expressed hope for transparency. However, she remains uncertain about the ease of access, hinting at potential reservations within the stakeholder community.
On his part also, a chieftain of the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF); Ugochukwu Nnadi said he has no knowledge about the portal and as such could not comment on the level of transparency
Speaking also, ANLCA Chieftain; Prince Olawale Cole said he has yet to get firsthand experience regarding the portal. He said he would reserve his judgment until he explored the portal.
Meanwhile, in a recent chat with our correspondent, the President of the Center for Promotion of Private Enterprise (CPPE); Dr Muda Yusuf commended the Nigeria Customs Service for leveraging technology to enhance efficiency.
He noted that the emphasis on technology aligns with the commitment of Customs Comptroller General; Adewale Adeniyi to using it as a tool for process improvement and revenue generation.
He, however harped on the need for transparency of the process, expressing confidence in the NCS’s dedication to leveraging technology for seamless operations.
Meanwhile, data obtained from the NCS highlights that the revamped e-auction platform has recorded notable metrics since its re-launch, including 1137 bids, 1099 registered applicants, and 652 successfully paid administration fees.
The NCS, in a press statement released over the weekend addressed occasional glitches reported by participants, attributing them to high traffic and assuring prompt resolution by a dedicated technical team.
The service, according to its spokesperson, Abdullahi Maiwada said transparency, accessibility, and public engagement remain focal points for the NCS in its e-auction platform.
“While we acknowledge occasional glitches reported by participants, potentially attributed to high traffic, our dedicated technical team is actively addressing the situation.“We assure the public that initial issues will be swiftly resolved to ensure a seamless experience in all subsequent exercises,” the spokesperson said.