FRAUDULENT BIDDERS RISK PROSECUTION

The second bidding period of Monday 10th to 12noon Wednesday July 2017 recorded 115 winners. 

Even though the second round showed improvement over the first which produced 43 winners, the Service discovered from the bidding pattern and collated complaints from Stakeholders that the system is being abused by some fraudulent persons. Some bidders were discovered to have made outrageous bidding for some items put up for auction in a bid to scare other bidders away. This act makes it possible for such fraudulent bidders to make the items available for the second highest bidder, who they may have connived with. 

Consequently, the system will be reprogrammed to jettison the second highest bidder to claim the item. Going forward, once the winner fails to pay within 5 working days, the item automatically reverts for re-uploading and fresh bidding. 
Interestingly, the system is recording the identities of these fraudulent bidders through submitted information from the Tax Identification Numbers (TIN). Such numbers will be deactivated as well as blocked from any further transaction with NCS. 

While those fraudulent bidders risk prosecution, genuine bidders are assured of the Service determination to ensure the success of the online auction process. 
To achieve this, NCS will continue to fine tune the process as we progress. 
So far a total 2001 bidders have registered with 1,919 enable. 

The Service congratulates all those winners who have paid and collected their vehicles already and looks forward to promptly release more won items to winners. 

Joseph Attah 
PRO, NCS 

e-AUCTION: NCS EXPLAINS DIFFICULTY IN RECHARGING E-WALLET

Following public complaints, questions and commentaries on the Nigeria Customs Service e-auction platform which was officially launched on the 3rd of July 2017 by the Comptroller General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd). 

The Service wishes to make some clarifications especially as the inability of other commercial banks to hook up to the platform is creating inconveniences that could lead to wrong perception that pinges on the integrity of the process. 

Consequently, the Nigeria Customs Service wishes to state as follows: 
– That all the 23 Customs duty collecting banks were carried along, properly trained in the process. 
– When the platform was developed, it was subjected to user acceptability test with all the banks including the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN). 
– Throughout this period, no bank indicated any problem with the platform. 

However, upon launch of the platform https://app1.trade.gov.ng/eauction 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. 

On Wednesday 5th July 2017 another letter was sent to CBN expressing the need for the Apex bank to confirm the readiness of Commercial Banks under its supervision to perform their roles in the process to ensure the success of the project. 

While we are being 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. 

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. 

Items uploaded were 130 vehicles, 43 bided for and won. 

While 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. 

Joseph Attah 
Deputy Comptroller of Customs 
Public Relations Officer 
For: Comptroller-General of Customs 

E-AUCTION ADVERT (TERMS AND CONDITIONS)

Nigeria Customs Service wishes to inform the general public about its readiness to deploy the e-auction platform via https://app1.trade.gov.ng/eauction as from 1st July, 2017. 
Consequently, all those who want to participate in the e-auction process are advised to note the following terms and conditions: 

– Applicant must have a valid TIN issued by the FIRS with an active e-mail account. 

– An applicant shall pay a non refundable fee of One Thousand Naira (₦1,000.00) as administrative charge. 

– An Item is auctioned “as is” as such request for replacement or refund shall not be entertained. 

– The successful bidder shall make payment within five (5) working days. 

– Failure to pay within five (5) working days the item reverts to the second (2nd) highest bidder. 

– The successful bidder has two (2) weeks from the date of payment to remove the item bidded for or forfeit same at the expiration of the two (2) weeks. 

– Any auction item not removed from the warehouse within fourteen (14) days from the date of payment shall revert to its pre-bidding status. 

– Take note for overtime cargo, that the successful bidder shall in addition pay 25% charges for Shipping line and Terminal operator respectively. 

– Bidders shall be allowed to bid for more than 2 items per bidding window. 

– For claiming items, the winner shall present; 

  i. A valid copy of paid assessment and bank receipt (optional in case of e-payment); 

  ii. E-mailed code to identify owner after payment; 

  iii. A notarized letter in case owner sends representative. (Where owner is present uploaded photo on registration will do.) 

  iv. Provide proper identification with the notarized letter such as International passport, Driver’s licence, Voters card or National I.D. 

– The dwell time for this Online Auction Sale shall be Twenty-Eight (28) days. 

– Third party claims shall not be entertained. 

– Officers of the Nigeria Customs Service are excluded from participating in this Auction. 

– Owner of seized item is excluded from bidding for same. 

– Conditions and terms of this auction are to be carefully considered by an interested person before acceptance. 

– Applicant undertakes to abide by the conditions and terms of this auction 

NIGERIA CUSTOMS SET TO DEPLOY E-AUCTION PLATFORM ON 1ST OF JULY

After repeated tests of the e-auction platform Nigeria Customs is now set to deploy the e-auction portal on the 1st of july 2017. 

The portal is now fully networked to designated banks to ensure money accruing from the auction gets to the Central bank of Nigeria Treasury Single Account for transparency and accountability. 

After receiving the report, the Comptroller General of Customs ,Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali(Rtd) directed the auction committee to ensure that only proper pictures of the goods as well as detailed information about each are uploaded to avoid and misgiving. He further stressed the need for more weeks to enable interested members of the public to obtain their Tax identification numbers (TIN) from the federal inland revenue before the commencement date . 

The platform which is highly interactive will only give access to holders of TIN. Such tax payers will log in, read the guidelines, pay the non refundable one thousand auction fee and proceed to bid for the items on auction. 

Recall that the CGC resumed duty in 2015 with a three pronged Presidential mandates of Restructure, Reform and seek ways of raising revenue. 

Manual auction was identified as non competitive and opened to abuses hence it was suspended. 

The committee set up has now developed an e-auction platform that is secured transparent and guarantees equal opportunities to all Nigerians. 

All interested persons are therefore advised to get ready by obtaining their Tax identification numbers issued by Federal Inland Revenue 

NCS MANAGEMENT RECONSTITUTED

Following the statutory retirement of some members of Management, within the last three months, the Management of the Nigeria Customs Service has been reconstituted with appointments of five (5) Ag. Deputy Comptroller-Generals and seven (7) Ag. Assistant Comptroller-Generals. 

While re-constituting the new team, the Comptroller-General of Customs Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) also approved slight redeployment of 8 Comptrollers to re-engineer the management of the Service for efficient service delivery. ..
The new NCS Management members include: 
1. ALU SULE ROBERT ACG T&T- Ag. DCG T&T 
2. OLUBIYI RONKE (MRS) ACG FATS – Ag. DCG HRD 
3. DANGALADIMA AMINU ACG E, I & I – Ag. DCG E, I & I 
4. IFERI PATIENCE (MRS) ACG SR & P – Ag. DCG SR & P 
5. CHIDI AUGUSTINE ACG EX. FTZ & I.I – Ag. DCG EX. FTZ & I.I 
6. HAMZA LADAN COMPT INV. – Ag. ACG FATS 
7. EKEKEZIE KAYCEE (MRS) COMPT. VAL. – Ag. ACG T & T 
8. HARUNA MAMUD COMPT. FOU “A” – Ag. ACG E,I & I 
9. SARKI-UMAR F. M (MRS) CAC ED/DT – Ag. ACG EX. FTZ & I.I 
10. FATADE, A. O.B CAC PTML – Ag. ACG (ZONAL COOR) ZONE “D” 
11. ENWEREUZOR FRANCIS (MRS) CAC EN/AN/EB – Ag. ACG SR & P 
12. DAHIRU AMINU CAC FCT – Ag. ACG (ZONAL COOR) ZONE “B” 

DCG UMAR IYA ABUBAKAR who was formally in charge of Tariff and Trade now moves to Finance Administration and Technical Services. 

In the same vein, eight (8) Comptrollers of Customs were redeployed as follows:
1. MOHAMMED, U.G COMPT FOU C- COMT FOU A 
2. AMAJAM, B. A COMPT. TECH. SERV- COMPT FOU C 
3. UMAR, D (MRS) COMPT. WELFARE- CAC FCT 
4. DIXON, F.O (MRS) COMPT. POSTING- CAC EDO/DELTA 
5. AREMU, A. M (MRS) CAC LAG. IND- CAC PTML 
6. SULAIMAN, M. S. J COMPT. ESTAB- CAC EN/AN/EB 
7. GIMBA B, U COMPT. HQTS- COMPT TECH. SERV 
8. OLADUNMI, M.O (MRS) COMPT. L & P- CAC LAG. IND 

As the new members of Management come on board, the CGC charges them to bring their experiences to bear in the administration of the Service. 

He said the modest achievements of the ongoing reform agenda in the areas of revenue generation, anti-smuggling operations and trade facilitation must be sustained and improved upon in the interest of the nation. 

Signed 
Joseph Attah 
Public Relations Officer 
For: Comptroller-General of Customs 

NIGERIA CUSTOMS SERVICE MOVES TO REFORM IMPORT AND EXPORT PROCESSES

By Joseph Attah 

One of the most crucial functions of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) is the promotion and facilitation of trade and competitiveness. We will be the first to admit that the reality at the Nigerian ports is challenging and can be improved upon. 
Depending on who one asks, what you are likely to hear is that, export processes average between two (2) and three (3) weeks in Nigeria, compared to only four (4) days in Kenya etc. Nigeria requires up to fourteen (14) documents for imports, compared to just five (5) in Rwanda. Factors like these are responsible for the country’s lowly rank of 14th out of 15 ECOWAS economies and 182nd out of 190 economies worldwide in the “Trade Across Borders” indicator on the most recent World Bank “Doing Business” Rankings. 

Nigeria’s desire to restore growth through economic diversification, as enunciated in the recently released Economic Growth and Recovery Plan (EGRP) of the Federal Government requires a holistic reformist approach. Reforming procedures is required to stimulate important sectors of the Nigerian economy like agriculture and manufacturing, which contribute 23.1 and 13.3 percent respectively to its Gross Domestic Product. 

On February 21, 2017, the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), Col. Hammed Ali (Rtd.), was among several heads of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) who gathered at the Conference Room of His Excellency, the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (SAN) for the launch of the 60-Day National Action Plan on Ease of Doing Business by the Presidential Enabling Business Environment Council (PEBEC). 

As a key stakeholder in the FG’s quest to make businesses work, the NCS joined other MDAs in making commitments towards delivering reforms that would progressively make it easier for businesses in Nigeria to start and thrive. Our commitments at the NCS are focused on “Trade Across Borders”, where a target was set to reduce import and export time by up to 50 percent, and ensure that import procedures adhere to international standards. 

A major first step was taken to achieve the target when the Department of Home Finance of the Federal Ministry of Finance revised Nigeria’s Import and Export Guidelines following a directive from the Honourable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Kemi Adeosun, to streamline current procedures. 

The Guidelines addresses some of the issues causing inefficiency and delays at the ports. Several of the newly inserted clauses in the Guidelines relate directly to the operations of the NCS. I will attempt to explain the stipulations and implications of the revised Guidelines in this piece as it pertains to the NCS. 

The NCS is now required to schedule and coordinate the Mandatory Joint Examinations and sign-off Form to ensure that there is only one point of contact between importers and officials. 

Before this intervention, the burden was on importers to reach out to all relevant agencies and the Terminal Operator to schedule a suitable time for the joint examination of cargo. We have however decided to take this tedious process off the backs of the importers and coordinate same. 

Similarly, the minimum cargo placement notice time for examination required by Terminal Operators has been reduced from twenty four (24) hours to a maximum of twelve (12) hours. This means that after the NCS agrees with all parties on a suitable time for physical examination, Terminal Operators now only require a twelve (12) hour notice to place the cargo for examination. 

Under the revised Guidelines, Shipping Lines are required to electronically transmit advanced manifest of their cargoes to the NCS and the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as soon as the vessel departs the last port of call – this is to ensure there is enough time for risk assessment, profiling and optimised placement of cargo. NCS Officers will then circulate the cargo manifests to other examination agencies and the Terminal Operators as soon as same are received from the Shipping Lines. Shipping Lines which fail to transmit the advanced cargo manifest may be denied berthing rights. 

The above guideline is critical because one major reason for delays at the ports is the less than optimal cargo placement and offloading processes. Most times, Terminal Operators are unaware of the contents of a container and are thus unable to determine if same requires physical examination or not. With prior knowledge of contents, Terminal Operators can ensure that containers which do not need physical examination and would consequently require less time to offload are placed ahead of those that will require examination in order to prevent delays and pileup of cargo. 

Another reason for the delays at the ports during the import process is the haphazard manner in which goods are packed in containers. Different types of goods are just dumped in the container and imported into Nigeria, slowing the pace of physical examination and making it impossible for modern equipment to be used to examine containers. 

To solve that problem, Shipping Lines are now required to ensure that imports into Nigeria are well arranged in pallets. Shipping Lines which fail to “palletise” cargo will be sanctioned and and maybe asked to take back on board the non-palletised cargo. 

Even beyond the 60-Day Plan, which came to a close on April 21, 2017, the NCS is already collaborating with other stakeholders to further reform the import and export processes. Our efforts are strengthened by the complete support of the Federal Government, through the PEBEC, chaired by His Excellency, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; the Federal Ministry of Finance; and other stakeholders. 

Reduction of documents required for the import and export process will continue to engage the attention of relevant authorities in recognition of the fact that Nigeria presently requires more documents than most of its peers. 

Finally, the on going move by FG towards the establishment and launch of a National Single Window (NSW) will contribute to the attainment of seamless interface by all stakeholders in the import and export chains. It will achieve an electronic, one-stop shop portal for Nigeria’s cargo clearance procedures. 

The strong steering committee co-chaired by the Comptroller General of the NCS, Col. Hameed Ali (Rtd.) and the Managing Director of the NPA, Hadiza Bala Usman demonstrates government’s desire to entrench more business friendly environment for importers, exporters and investors wishing to do manufacturing business in Nigeria. 

We intend to show Nigerian exporters and importers through our actions that the NCS is not just a “tax-collecting” agency, but a progressive partner determined to make it quicker, cheaper and easier for exporters and importers to trade and carry out their legitimate business operations through the Nigerian ports. 

Attah, a Deputy Comptroller of Customs and Public Relations Officer of Nigeria Customs Service writes from Abuja

CGC GRANTS GRACE PERIOD FOR DUTY PAYMENT ON SMUGGLED VEHICLES

The Comptroller-General of Customs, Col. Hameed Ibrahim Ali (Rtd) has approved a grace period of one month, between Monday 13th March to Wednesday 12th April 2017 for owners of all vehicles within the Country whose customs duty has not been paid, to do so. 

Consequently, all motor dealers and private owners of such vehicles are advised to visit the nearest Customs Zonal Office to pay the appropriate Customs Duty on them. 

The Four Zonal Offices of the Nigeria Customs Service are: Zone A Headquarters, No. 1 Harvey Road, Yaba, Lagos; Zone B Headquarters, Kabala Doki, Kaduna; Zone C Headquarters, Nigeria Ports Authority, Port Harcourt and Zone D Headquarters, Yelwa Tudu Road, Bauchi State. 

The CGC therefore calls on all persons in possession of such vehicles to take advantage of the grace period to pay appropriate duties on them, as there will be an aggressive anti-smuggling operation to seize as well as prosecute owners of such smuggled vehicles after the deadline of Wednesday 12th April, 2017. 

For the avoidance of doubt, all private car owners who are not sure of the authenticity of their vehicles customs documents can also approach the Zonal Offices to verify with a view to complying with the provision of the law. 

SIGNED 
Joseph Attah 
Ag. Public Relations Officer 
For: Comptroller-General of Customs

TIN-CAN ISLAND PORT COMMAND COLLECTED OVER ₦256 BILLION AS REVENUE IN 2016

The Tin-Can Island Port Command of Nigeria Customs Service has recorded Two Hundred and fifty-six billion, four hundred and sixteen million, seven hundred and eight thousand, eight hundred and forty eight naira, sixty eight kobo only (₦256,416,708,848.68) as revenue in 2016. 

The achievements of the Command in the year under review are: 

Interception of large quantity of arms & ammunition based on well profiled intelligence On 15th February, 7th March And 4th April 2016 Respectively And Handed Over To DSS. 

Infrastructural face-lift of the office complex which was hitherto in a deplorable condition. 

The establishment of a well equipped clinic to serve the health needs of both officers and other members of the public. 

Oversight visit of the senate committee on customs to the command on Thursday 27th October 2016. 

Seizure Of Thrity-One (31) Containers of 50kg parboiled rice, falsely declared as bread improvers/flavoured yeast disodium on 19th August, 2016. 

Seizure of 27 X 20ft Containers of Vegetalbe Oil In 25kg Kegs At Emog Terminal on Thursday 3rd November, 2016, another case of false declaration which was entered as disodium chemicals. 

Interception of One Thousand Three Hundred And Ninety Five (1,395) Cartons of Nau Nau Ready to Eat Food Preparations Imported from India. Such as Egusi Soup, Porridge Yam, Beans, Fried Rice, Jollof Rice etc. 

Spectacular Interception of 8 Bags of Unmanifested Substances in 1 X 20ft Container. The 8 Bags Consisted Of 200 fully compressed substances which was handed over to NDLEA and later confirmed to be cocaine with a street value of 2 Billion naira. 

Handing over of suspects To Standard Organisation of Nigeria (Son) For Falsification of SONCAP. 

Handing over of expired medicaments on the 31st of August 2016 and Expired Sweets to NAFDAC on The 11th of November, 2016. 

Establishment of ICT Centre with 30 work-station, fully networked for training/re-training and capacity building of officers and other stakeholders. 

While appreciating the remarkable performance of the Officers and Men of the Command, the Area Controller of the Command, Compt. Yusuf Bashar said the Command has received 4 commendation letters from the Management of the Service in a space of two months. A milestone which the Command will sustain in the New Year and beyond.

“The Command is determined and poised to forge a better synergy and collaboration with the critical stakeholders and other Sister Agencies for the implementation of the Fiscal Policies of the Federal Government. However, we wish to reiterate our zero tolerance for false declaration or other deliberate infractions.”- Compt. Bashar. 

He further state that all areas of Revenue leakages will be identified and blocked, and any attempt by an importer/and or his agent to circumvent the process will be viewed seriously. He assured all honest declarants of the Command’s readiness to facilitate trade in line with global best practices. 

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