Customs assures on capacity to succeed service providers as FG says Nigeria expects so much from the Service.

The Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) has served emphatic notice that it is well-prepared to assume full control of the destination inspection (DI) regime come December 31, 2012. This is even as President Goodluck Jonathan has told the NCS that Nigerians expect so much from the Service over the impending takeover from the service providers.

All these emerged at the opening of the 2012 Comptroller-General’s Annual Conference yesterday in Katsina, where Vice President Namadi Sambo represented Jonathan as Special Guest of Honour.

It would be recalled that the Federal Government had awarded a seven-year to three service providers to provide scanning and risk management support under the DI regime governing Nigeria’s international trade. The service providers are SGS, Global Scan, and Cotecna, and the respective contract of the trio expires on December 31, 2012.

In his address, Comptroller-General of Customs, Dikko Inde Abdullahi assured that all that is needed, including expertise; facilities are in place for a smooth transition from the service providers to the Customs.

Abdullahi thanked government for what he called the bold step in returning to the Service its statutory responsibilities.

The Customs chief assured government, all Nigerians and the business community that the Service will surely succeed in the task.

Abdullahi Dikko Inde recalled that at inception, his administration had come up with a six-point agenda, noting that the Service was on course in actualising these.

He listed the six-point agenda to include; maximising the potentials of the Service through capacity building; moral re-birth to enhance discipline and integrity; enhanced welfare package; consolidating on e-Customs; collaboration and partnership with other stakeholders and international organisations; and fostering mutual understanding between the Service and the general public.

However, the Customs chief said: “The current level of the Customs Service modernisation requires an enabling legislation in line with present day realities and challenges. It is in this regard that we acknowledge the efforts of the members of the National Assembly to review the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) CAP 45 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. We salute them for their vision and courage, and appeal to all stakeholders to understand and support the current efforts of the management to leave behind for posterity an enduring legacy.”

He explained that the theme of the conference , Borders Divides, Customs Connects, was carefully chosen to highlight what the Service would achieve through the Single Window project.

“The concept, which shall be the rallying point of our connectivity, will enhance trade facilitation and engender good working relationship with our relevant stakeholders such as NAFDAC, SON, NESREA, banks, shipping companies and licensed agents,” he said.

He added that these CACs had “become tin gods,” because as soon as they assume their positions, they treat the media with disdain.

“There are some Area Controllers who do not pick my calls, not to talk of journalists’,” he said.

Dikko wondered why these CACs shied away from journalists, suggesting that the CACs should inaugurate monthly or bi-monthly fora to brief the media on activities of their respective commands and eliminate room for inaccuracies in news reports.

President of Nigerian Guild of Editors, NGE, Mr. Gbenga Adefaye, who spoke on Customs-Media Partnership: Building Synergy Towards National Development, commended the website run by the Customs.

He said it was informative and educative, adding that the initiative spoke well of what the Customs was doing and showed that it had come of age.

Adefaye said: “The Customs have done well by partnering the media, which has in turn made the media to cover the activities of Customs well.”

Coordinated Border Management by Yemisi Jenkins, President, Association of British-Nigeria Law Enforcement (ABLE). Presented a membership Certificate to C.G.C  Abdullahi Dikko Inde.