From Uche Usim, Abuja 

The Comptroller General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, on Thursday harped on the need to urgently build the next generation of officers and men that will be equipped with to solve the complex challenges of the 21st century, which goes far beyond the traditional role of managing the movement of goods to safeguard revenue.

Ali gave the charge at the 2023 edition of the International Customs Day.

According to him, the current peculiarities and advancements in the society have made it highly imperative for Customs to tackle challenges such as; globalization of business and trade, international terrorism and organised crime, environmental, intellectual property and wildlife protection, by leveraging on new technology, complex trade agreements and strengthening partnerships. 

“These roles are to be adopted while facilitating trade and at the same time ensuring compliance to protect the fiscal and economic interest of the state. Nurturing the next generation of professionals is vital for the continued success of any organization. One key aspect of this is promoting a culture of knowledge sharing and professional pride. By fostering an environment where employees feel valued and encouraged to share their expertise. 

“Customs Administrations can cultivate a workforce that is engaged, motivated and dedicated to achieving the organization’s goals.

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“Another way to promote knowledge sharing is by creating opportunities for employees to collaborate and share their skills and experience. This could include team building activities, mentoring programs, or cross functional projects teams By providing employees with opportunity to work together, they can learn from each other and develop a sense of camaraderie and mutual respect.

Another important aspect of nurturing the next generations is promoting professional pride. We are working on this by recognizing and rewarding employees for their contributions, providing opportunities for professional development, fostering a sense of ownership and accountability among employees”, he said. 

Also speaking at the event, the acting Deputy Comptroller General of Customs in charge of Strategic Research and Policy, Wale Adeniyi, who read the message of the Secretary General of the World Customs Organization (WCO), Kunio Mikuriya, stated that the 2023 slogan ‘nurturing the next generation’ was apt, as it seeks to fatten the knowledge and capacities of officers.

He noted that by creating a stimulating work environment and offering learning opportunities to officers, Customs administrations cannot only attract and retain talent, but also enhance their officers’ sense of professional pride. 

“It is often said that the new generation are searching for meaning; working in Customs is a noble mission, whose fulfillment is essential for the well-being of nations.

“As the reputation of an organization depends largely on its employees, it is important that they take pride in their work and that the way their work connects with the government’s vision is clearly explained. To achieve this, Customs administration must increase their visibility, not only among their natural partners but also among those decision- general public-who may be less familiar with the multi-faceted role of Customs, and less aware of the challenges faced by Customs and the constraints”, he explained.