Customs boss calls for regional collaboration, capacity building for officers

The Comptroller General, Nigeria Customs Service, Dikko Abdullahi has called for regional collaboration among Customs organisations in West and Central Africa.

Speaking at the Conference of Directors-General of Customs for West and Central Africa region of the World Customs Organization on Wednesday in Abuja, Abdullahi said that the need for stronger collaboration and synergy amongst regional organisations in the region was the best for the success of the region, saying this was the “reality of our time”.

He pointed out that more efforts and more success would be delivered, if stakeholders work on synergies and efficiency.

“When we work together, we win together. With the dynamics of international trade and complex nature of border security, we must see ourselves as partners with other government agencies within and outside our borders. The reality of our time imposes on us the obligation of collaboration among all partner agencies of government; using information technology (IT) and various WCO tools as support”, he said.

The Customs boss who spoke on the theme ‘Coordinated Border Management, an inclusive approach to connecting stakeholders’, explained that the recent meeting initiative which saw Nigeria, Benin, Chad, Cameroon and Niger sitting and brainstorming on a collaborative approach of combating cross-border terrorism within the region was already yielding positive results.

He said this was in addition to assisting in streamlining transit trade between Nigeria and the neighbouring States of Benin and Niger.

He said there was the need for capacity building through training and retraining of officers as well as the continuing employment of talented youths, noting that it is their engagement, and training that the emergence of the desired modernized Customs Service would be realized.

“There are talents in Nigeria who believe that successful careers can only be nurtured in the private sector. We need to recruit these talents, particularly those with IT skills and retrain them, with [the kind of attractive] remuneration obtainable in the private sector.

“There is no over-emphasizing the fact that improved welfare for officers will improve productivity and efficiency. Projects like home ownership schemes, subsidized medical services for officers and their families and 13th month salary are some of the incentives we use in Nigeria”, Abdullahi said.

He expressed his appreciation to President Goodluck Jonathan whom he described as a great statesman and an ambassador of peace for providing Nigeria Customs Service with the impetus for its immense growth.

In his speech, the WCO Secretary General, Kunio Mikuriya praised the leadership roles that Nigeria has been playing in the sub-region, pointing out that from 2011 when he first visited Abuja, he had continued to marvel at the Nigerian spirit, their love for hard work, and commendable leadership qualities as demonstrated during and after the 2015 general elections.

He also commended the leadership of NCS management for investing in IT, adding that he was glad that the service was able to increase revenue profile by 20 percent in the first year of its full takeover of destination inspection.


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