Do you support the proposed establishment of a Nigeria Customs Commission?

C. A. T. Agubama (President, NAFFAC)I totally support the introduction of the customs commission and I am hoping that maybe, just maybe, it would become an institution to correct the excesses of both Customs management and personnel in areas of service discipline, misconduct, employments and career issues.One matter against the Ministry of Finance is the issue of delays in issuance of certain waivers and other trade or consular facilitation permits or exemptions. Only a technical committee can consider the issues of delays and make appropriate recommendations. The idea of the commission is quite healthy and for us to have a retired CG head the Commission, it is a round peg into a round hole.

 

Kayode Farinto (Publicity Secretary, ANLCA)We need a Nigerian Customs Service Commission like we had it in the Police. I support it, but yesterday I was reliably informed that the legislators have smuggled a clause into the bill which means that destination inspection is coming back to the port again, if that is the case then we would kick against it because we have passed that stage. We were told they want to give jobs to the boys, it then means that we are still in rigmarole; it is not in the best interest of anybody in this country for us to go back to pre-shipment era when we are talking about destination inspection.But honestly the customs commission is the best thing that can happen in this country, a situation where somebody would just come from outside to become CG would stop, the CG must be confirmed, the chairman of the commission would be confirmed by the legislator and the commission would now be able to look at remuneration of customs, discipline and most of the international laws that we are signatory to which has been domesticated but they are not allowing it to work, through the establishment of the commission it would begin to work.

 

Frank Ukor (President, AREFFN)It does not make any difference if we support or we do not support the creation. But in my opinion, Customs Service is better than Customs Commission. Under the Ministry, the CG is answerable to the ministerial control and directive but under the Commission, he answers only to the President. If a former CG is appointed the Chairman of the commission, the tendency is that the status quo ante will continue. The corruption that stakeholders have been complaining about will continue because it will be a case of 'birds of the same feather, flying together'.

 

Bolade Oladipo Lawrence (ANLCA Member)What is important to us is to see the customs performing their duty, whether they are under commission or they are under board, we are less concerned because it is the government policy, but whichever one that would make them perform better in their duty is what we support. So if it is the introduction of the commission that would bring about efficiency then it is a welcome development.However, the pre-shipment aspect of the law will take us back to about six years ago, what we are practicing now is destination,  but if we are now talking about pre-shipment agencies now it is like taking us back to the Armageddon. We have to be sincere to ourselves, if we are practicing pre-assessment report (PAAR) and you are bringing pre-shipment,  it is going to cause an lot of problem because it cannot fit into PAAR.

 

Julius Efokpor (Sec Gen Merchant Navy) You know the civil service structure is cumbersome; the turn around time is always wasted when it comes to the maritime industry. With customs controlling the inflow of good and out, if you put it under a commission and a commission under a chairman; it will take longer time for goods to be cleared. We are talking turn around time to be 24 hours but for me as far as I am concerned, it is going to be more than 24 hours because there is going to be bureaucracy. The issue of passing files from one table to the other before goods can be cleared will not be good for our economy.  So I am not in support of that because customs goods clearance is supposed to be like private sector. Because when these goods are delayed because of bureaucracy it will put more dept for our importers.

 

Abiodun Frank (ANALCA member)To me, the Custom Service Commission is proper and the right thing to do because when they appoint a retired CG of customs as the chairman of the commission, he already knows how the system runs and it will make the system better. The chairman must be an experienced person in the activities of customs service and he will not allow the service to go down. Take for instance the Police Service Commission, since its introduction, the police force has been moving well, there have been serious improvement in the force. So it is a good development and I strongly support that. I believe that it is only an insider in the service who knows what to do to move the service forward that is why the appointment of a retired CG as the chairman of the commission will be ideal.Increase Uche (Acting President, NAGAFF)Whatever the National Assembly wants to do that they think will be for the good of the nation, they should go ahead and do that. The establishment of a Customs Service Commission which NAGAFF have been campaigning for, all these while is a good  development. Now that the government wants to establish a commission we will give them our maximum support because it will make the service more productive. Officers would now adjust because more will be expected from them now.

 

Deji Adekunle (Seafarer )Establishment of such a commission will be a wonderful development so that they can be held responsible for any misbehaviour in the service. Just like what is obtainable in the police where you take sue the force in case of any problem. 

Eugene Nweke (Former President, NAGAFF)Customs is an agency under the Ministry of Finance, perhaps when you start sampling the mode of application in other countries, you may as well, probe or understand why our own Senate is transferring it from an agency to a Commission.  The bottom line question remains, would that fast track and improve efficiency of the service? Judging by the organisation's structural change from a directly supervised agency status to an autonomous status, what were the identifiable limitations towards achieving administrative excellence from the formal status and what are the likely or potential benefits of the later? Secondly, the Nigeria Customs Service prides itself as a paramilitary outfit with a regimented command structure, saddled with the task of suppressing smuggling activities and as a foremost revenue generating arm of the government. So are there implications to the new status? Assuming the law makers took a cue from the Federal Road Safety Commission, regardless of its different background and conceptualisation, it is likely that, sooner or later we shall have Nigeria Immigration Commission, Nigeria Drugs Law Enforcement Commission, and so on.

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