‘Customs CG Has No Fixed Tenure’
• Okonjo-Iweala satisfied with Dikko’s performance
Chairman of the House Committee on Customs, Sabo Mohammed Nakudu, has said that the office of the comptroller-general of Customs is not subject to a fixed tenure.
Nakudu’s comment is coming against the background of recent moves by desperate lobby groups to force President Goodluck Jonathan to remove the comptroller-general of Customs, Abdullahi Inde Dikko, on the grounds that he would be four years in office on August 18.
Nakudu said in Abuja on Monday that neither the 1958 Customs and Excise Management Act (CEMA) currently governing the Service, nor the provisions of the Customs and Excise Management Bill 2011, fixed a limit on the CG’s tenure.
“The appointment, tenure and removal of the CG is purely the decision of the president,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Coordinating Minister of the Economy and Minister of Finance, Mrs. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, has expressed satisfaction with the on-going reform programme of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).
The minister, who commended the Nigeria Customs Service after a meeting of the board of the NCS in Abuja on Monday, disclosed that in a few months the Service would take full charge of all its responsibilities.
“I think from what I hear that it’s going relatively ok, it’s not easy. I don’t think there’s any organisation that goes through a transition period without some pains. I think the Customs is handling itself fairly well and I count on the CG to ensure a smooth transition. And it’s only a couple more months, two three more months and customs is in charge. So I am sure that everybody is gearing up,” Okonjo-Iweala said.
Media reports had claimed that the outsourcing of destination inspection was a sore point in relations between the minister and the CG.
Dismissing speculations over a possible postponement of the planned handover of Destination Inspection to the Nigeria Customs Service, the minister said she does not waste her time on propaganda, stressing, “I don’t spend my time on that. If you open the newspapers, everyday there are articles saying finance is doing this, they are blocking that trying to postpone and all kind of false stories, I am not focused on that, I don’t work that way. I just do my job and when the time comes the evidence will show for itself.”
Commenting on the revenue drive of the organization, Okonjo-Iweala said, “We are really looking forward to everybody being charged up to take care of this revenue issue so that we can be on the upswing again. So the CG is going to be working on it full time.”
Other stakeholders have also commended the reforms carried out on the watch of Dikko.
They maintained that considering the current programmes initiated by the Dikko-led administration, continuity of leadership was crucial to the successful completion of a number of the projects.
National president of the Association of Nigeria Licensed Customs Agents (ANLCA), Prince Olayiwola Shittu, said, “Dikko has done what others didn’t do; that has earned him more enemies than friends. I will advise that government gives him more time to see the digitalisation of Customs process and international trade to a reasonable conclusion.”