The absence of a Customs Board almost two years into the administration of the Comptroller General of Customs, Hameed Ali is hindering the promotion of senior officers, SHIPS & PORTS DAILY has gathered.
The Customs board is responsible for the appointment, promotion and discipline of officers in the Service. The board is also concern with policy issues and to administer the Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA).
The Finance Minister statutorily is the chairman while the Comptroller General serves as the vice chairman. The six Deputy Comptroller-Generals of Customs as well as representatives of the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Transport, Finance, and the National Universities Commission (NUC) among others, are members.
It would be recalled that Ali recently came under criticism by the committee on Customs and Excise over non-composition of the Customs Board since 2015.
Chairman of the Committee, Hope Uzodinma had pointed out that it was wrong and illegal for the customs boss alone to be promoting and firing officers without the board in place and had ordered immediate constitution of the board.
Some of the affected officers who spoke with SHIPS & PORTS DAILY expressed sadness over the delay in their promotion, which they said can only be ratified by the Board.
One of them who spoke on condition of anonymity said not only is the absence of the Board hindering the promotion of senior officers, it has also caused setback in Customs administration.
“Our promotion is being delayed because there is no customs board that would give approval for it to be released. If the President (Buhari) had been in town, the CG would have sought his consent to release the promotion because he takes instructions from him directly.
“But because he (President) has not been around and there is no Board in place, our promotion is been delayed. He sidelines the Minister (of Finance) perhaps because she is a woman to meet with the President but that is not good for the system,” the source said.
Speaking on the issue, a retired Comptroller of Customs, Olu Ogunojemite said the Nigeria Customs Service is not functioning well due to non-composition of its Board, which, according to him, has affected the working relationship between Customs and the Finance Ministry.
“The setting up of the board has been a contentious issue since the CG made known his intention to be the chairman of the Board. There has been some controversy and I believe that is what is causing the delay in setting up of the Board. It is an aberration for the Customs CG to relate with the President directly.
“It is not good that the Board is not in place. A lot of things are going wrong because of that so there is need for the board to be in place and be meeting as scheduled. Concerning the board headship, I am in support that the Minister of Finance remains the heads of Customs Board for the harmonious working of the Finance Ministry and Customs,” he said.
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