The Comptroller-General of Customs (CG), retired Col. Hameed Ali, on Tuesday said the accusations against the service of favoring Jaiz Bank in collecting the monetary proceeds of the newly introduced e-auction are efforts of mischief makers who are out to tarnish and sabotage the process.
Ali stated this in Abuja during an interactive session with the Chief Executive Officers of 18 import duty collecting banks.
He said that as financial institutions, it was the responsibility of the banks to key into the initiative that would generate revenue for the government for the benefit of Nigerians.
The CG said that the same banks that participated in the exercise when it was run manually, distanced themselves from the ongoing automated auction system, leaving only Jaiz bank as the sole participant.
According to him, with the participation of only one bank until yesterday when others joined, the system was cumbersome for the bidders and for the service.
"I am surprised and really short of words. This is economic sabotage.
“Eighteen banks have now hooked up to the Customs e-auction platform, remaining two more banks that are yet to be on the platform.
“The money you are going to collect is not coming to Customs; it is not coming to me as a person; it is going to the Federation Account that will be distributed to the three tiers of government,” he said.
He said that the same banks that collected duty for the NCS were reluctant to be part of the e-auction bidding process.
Ali said that “for us to initiate this process and the banks pull out calls for concern. One is that we want to get some funds from there. Two, it’s going to ease the process of what we do.
“It will also encourage transparency in what we do and the essence of what we do is to ensure that there is transparency in revenue collection.
The Customs boss said the banks took the e-auction aback but added that he was glad the managing directors of the 18 banks were present at the interactive session to bare their minds on the issues.
“I want to know if there are problems and what the problems are.
The bank chiefs, however, took turns to explain their challenges with the bidding, which they stated as mostly technical issues.
While resolving to join forces with customs to form a technical committee that would meet from time to time to iron out the issues until the process was stabilised, some of the bankers who spoke in the meeting denied accusation of sabotage, saying that no bank would deliberately sabotage a government process.