Govt begins performance-based incentive scheme for Customs
• Hires consultants to rejig operations
• FIRS reviews performance benchmark for appraisal
The Federal Government has unfolded plans to introduce performance related pay scheme in the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), to motivate improved revenue collection at the gateways and reduce corruption.
The initiative was announced on Tuesday by the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun who explained that a review of the constraints currently impacting performance of the NCS had been undertaken.
“This exercise found that the provision of modern equipment, elimination of inappropriate waivers and remuneration emerged as issues,” she stated.
She disclosed further that a consulting firm has been hired and is currently working with the NCS to develop and implement a performance-based incentive plan to ensure that there was an alignment of interest between individual customs officers and the objectives of the government.
Speaking at a Senate Hearing to review revenue projections in the 2016 Budget held in Abuja on Tuesday, the Minister further explained that, “appropriate remuneration of revenue collecting agencies to align the interests of staff with maximising collections is critical to motivate performance and to reduce temptation to compromise”.
She told the senators that such a structure already existed in the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), which was working well and needed to be extended to Customs.
The Minister also stressed that being an import-dependent nation, there is room for improvement in revenue generation from the country’s ports. She stated that there was disconnect between the volume of imports and the recorded revenues from NCS which would be addressed by the new strategy being deployed.
She expressed commitment to the provision of all modern equipment needed to minimise discretion in customs assessments and thus enhance revenue.
Corroborating the Minister’s position, the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs, Col. Hammed Ali (rtd) said the authorities are looking into areas of improving the performance of the NCS through deployment of technology solutions, training, upgrading of the agency’s infrastructure and improved welfare.
During the same hearing, the Executive Chairman of the FIRS, Tunde Fowler stated that his organisation had moved the achievement threshold for its performance related pay from 60 per cent to 80 per cent.
The implication of this, according to him, is that staff would only be entitled to benefit from performance incentives, if at least 80 per cent of the agency’s revenue target for the year is achieved.