Uche Usim, Abuja

The Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS), Hameed Ali, on Wednesday disclosed that the Service has maintained its N100 billion revenue generation rhythm for several months running, noting that the management has since surpassed the 2018 revenue target set for it by the Federal Government. 

He also said the management, in its quest to move the Nigerian Customs to the next level, was collaborating with the Uganda Customs Revenue Authority on several fronts, including modernisation, intelligence sharing, manpower development, Information and Communications Technology (ICT), among others.

Speaking at a lecture entitled: “The Leadership Question in Modern Customs Management” held at the Customs Command and Staff College, Gwagwalada, Abuja, Ali foreclosed the possibility of beating the N140.4 billion revenue generated in August before the end of 2018, because imports and businesses are usually on the downward curve as the year winds down.

He said: “We’ve maintained a level of N100 billion monthly for revenue generation. We’ve surpassed the revenue target the government gave us for 2018.

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“It is not possible to surpass the August revenue because that was the peak. As the year winds down, businesses are slower a bit. But we are committed to generating the best of revenue for the government”.

On cargo tracking project as deployed in some African countries to check diversion, the Customs boss said some scientific proposals have been made towards it.

“Cargo tracking is not just about technology. You need to put the enforcement team on the ground. People that would ensure the technology and process work. So, if there’s any diversion, it’ll trigger alert. The nearest enforcement team to where the cargo being diverted was flagged can move in and get the cargo “, Ali stated.

He described the guest lecture series as a good development meant to fortify the manpower stock of the Service with requisite knowledge needed to boost staff performance and efficiency.

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“We will bring in more DGs of Customs from other parts of Africa for this exchange of ideas.

“We need to expand our horizon and the coming of Mr Kateshumbwa Dicksons, the Commissioner for Uganda Customs Revenue Authority has ballooned our knowledge of modern Customs”, he added.

In his remarks, the guest lecturer,  Mr Kateshumbwa Dicksons, said Nigeria and Uganda shared similar operational terrain and challenges aside being members of the African Union and World Customs Organization (WCO).

He said: “We’re completely a landlocked country and much of Nigeria is also landlocked.

As AU members, we need collaborate and we’re working on implementing AfCFTA. We’re to facilitate trade and have clear processes and procedures. We are to reduce the cost of doing business.

“It demands modernized services and Customs is key in this regard. We will continually share experiences in ICT, capacity building and other areas. Our challenges are peculiar and so the solutions are within us”, he explained.

Dicksons urged the NCS management to promote team building and organizational cohesion.
He noted that leadership in Customs was not for the faint hearted.

“It involves struggles, hurdles, battles etc and you must stand up and firmly do what is right. Customs is not a place you relax. You must enjoy your challenges. It’s part of the game. You can’t complain. You must evolve visionary changes and get people to buy in. You must consolidate the gain, listen to your followers and marshal out strategies for success.

“You must empower your followers so they take responsibility and account for their actions. You must engage them. You must understand your task, your responsibilities etc. You’re in charge of people, processes and systems. Know your operational environment. Don’t allow politics to influence you to do the wrong things. Politicians will dump you still at the end of the day, especially if crisis erupts from your action which they influenced.

“Work within the dictates of the law. Remove obstacles that will vandalize your integrity and know your staff and reward them on merit”, Dicksons admonished.