‘Growth agenda for Customs in a new dispensation’
AS Nigerian economy struggles with oil price volatility in the international market, stakeholders in the maritime sector are calling on the Federal Government to put measures in place to adequately harness other sources of income.
Besides revenue generation, they described the maritime sector as a viable avenue through which the government can create numerous jobs for Nigerians within and outside the country on a sustainable basis.
Indeed, the National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), is of the opinion that the first step to take is to “consolidate on the achievements recorded by the immediate past Comptroller-General of Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Alhaji Abdullahi Inde Dikko in terms of revenue generation.
The assertion is coming on the heels of call by the acting Comptroller-General of Customs, Dr John Atte on commands across the country to increase weekly revenue generation from N13 billion to N35 billion.
The directive was part of decisions taken during a strategy session of Customs management and Customs Area Controllers in Abuja.
Speaking on the role of Customs in revenue generation under the new dispensation, President of NAGAFF, Eugene Nweke said:
“Consolidation, Consolidation is the key word ahead”.
Explaining further, Nweke commended Dikko and his management team for the ‘zeal and achievements’ recorded despite challenges
He said: “We score them 80 per cent for the six-point agenda aggressively pursued and implemented and 65 per cent on the Job General Performance.
“As the National President of NAGAFF, I wish to use this medium to emphasis in strong terms, our official position on the recent developments relating to the voluntary resignation from office by the former Comptroller General of Customs and to evaluate his six-year tenure in office. I want to state in clear terms why we stood by our decision to air our views on a likely replacement and setting a possible agenda for the incumbent Comptroller- General.
“I am also the National Vice Chairman of the Customs Consultative Committee (CCC). NAGAFF as a professional body is deeply involved in Public Policy Advocacy and will never lose sight of its corporate aims and objectives in relation to Public
“Above all, we are also committed to consultation and collaboration with critical stakeholders in the industry, with the aim of championing a new course that, will strategically open up the port system for even competition and friendly business port environment.
“I wish to reiterate and express NAGAFF’s advocacy pact with the Nigeria Customs Service under the able leadership of the former CG, Alhaji Abdullahi Diko Inde.
“During our courtesy visit to the former Comptroller General of Customs and the Customs management team on Thursday, November 12, 2009, we told the management team that we were not unmindful of the strategic role of the Nigeria Customs Service as a catalyst not only for national economic growth and development but also of the security and promotional roles the service played. As critical stakeholders involved in Customs functions, we told the former C-G that his appointment was a great opportunity to contribute in re-inventing a service built strictly on professionalism, discipline and sincerity.
“It is our desire to see a highly-professional service where there is high morale within the rank and file and one that is responsive to the economic aspirations of Nigeria and global trade facilitation.
“The former CGC’s six-point agenda for the transformation of the service was a reflection of the determination of the management team to bequeath to Nigeria a vibrant and enviable customs.
“This was against the fact that the responsibilities of customs administrations were now becoming more complex, and had now transcended revenue collection, border controls, security and anti-smuggling.
“We said during our maiden visit to Dikko that we were glad that issues revolving around trade facilitation and maintenance of the international trade supply and security chain were also articulated in the six-point agenda of the former CGC.
“While reaffirming our unflinching support for the customs management team, we stated categorically that we had resolved to be the vanguard of re-inventing a new customs service for our great country Nigeria.
“We assured the former C-G that as a professional body, we would continue to enlighten our members and the trading public on the need to support his administration by abiding with the rules and regulations governing international trade and customs clearance in Nigeria.
“It was our belief that effective and efficient clearance of goods increased the participation of national industries in the global market place and contributed significantly to the economic competitiveness of nations, encouraged investment and development of industries.
“Effective clearance of goods will also increase the participation of Small and Medium Enterprises in international trade.
“As a public policy advocate and from our practical experience in the field as freight forwarders, we had decided to crystallize our observation, challenges and recommendations into a position paper, which we believe would assist the service in achieving its vision, mission and the six-point agenda for the transformation of the service.
“We are glad to note that the former CGC worked assiduously in the right direction and we noticed progressive changes and improvements in the service in the last six years.
“The following achievements really showed that our responsible partnership, strategic alliance and collaboration with the management team lead by Dikko was a huge success, hence, we scored him 75 per cent.