Ademola Irinyemi (Registrar, IFFN)
The creation of a task force on customs reform is not out of place if the objective of such a development is genuine and tailored towards facilitating trade in this period of global economic challenge. I will object to the engagement of a former Comptroller General of customs as the head of the task force. As far as I am concerned, a neutral and independent figure whom is conversant with Customs operations should have been engaged to oversee such a strategic.
Eugene Nweke (Dep. Nat. President, NAGAFF)
It is a demonstration of another administrative and supervisory inefficiency and an apology of a sort, on the part of both the ministry and the establishment itself.
While Nigerians are desirous of high-spirited custom officers, Nigeria Custom Service is also desirous of a new corporate image perception via a conscience reorientation and immediate review of its enabling laws.
Most importantly is the urgent need to break the jinx of monopoly and administrative inconsistency, poor funding, corrupt tendencies etc. so as to attend optimal efficiency of operational performances. This is achievable through the establishment of an independent or autonomous custom commission, with a new focus and defined mission.
With due respect to members of task force on Custom reform, they are quite okay, they are gentlemen in their own rights, but I have looked around to see any aggressive course which they pursued vigorously to live behind as a legacy while they where in Service, I could not see any. It takes morality and integrity to reform a system; not just experience.
But, be that as it may, I wish them well while we watch events as they unfold, hoping that the committee will not metamorphose into a clique or god fathers.
Mazi Joseph Anabaraonye (Registrar, Freight Forwarders Academy)
The idea of setting up a task force towards reforming the activities of the Nigeria Customs Service is a wise one, but it is the constitution of its members that is questionable. If the task force comprises of members who have been there before and yet were unable to make any changes, I don’t see what they are coming back to do, it is like creating a job for them again to enable them to benefit from the system and I am afraid it will all end up a paper work.
It would have been more appreciated if the task force membership is mixed with other sets of people in order for it to really make meaningful impact. I am saying that freight forwarders, importers, and the manufacturers either through MAN or the NACCIMA should be included. In order for us to stop beating about the bush and wasting our time in setting up different task forces, what the industry really needs is a Customs that will focus on e-freighting, this will ensure less human contact in the clearing of goods at the ports.
Alhaji Alawode O.O (Clearing Agent, Seme)
There is nothing wrong in setting up a task force to look into the affairs of Customs. As far as I am concerned, the idea is that there are some things or ideas the Comptroller General might want implemented but which the federal government may not attest to, the board will be there to help and support the Customs, also in terms of needed facilities and other provisions, the task force will be there to ensure that they are taken care of. However, in constituting a task force of this nature, proper cognizance should have been paid to its membership; they need one strong man from the ministry of finance, importers and the manufacturers for them to carry everyone along. If the people at the helm of affairs have good motives and the members of the task force are not trying to feel superior to the customs, I think they will be a sort of helping hand to the Customs Service, they will be able to advice the government over reviewing of banned items, how to further cub smuggling and bring development to the Service.
Mr. Nwaogwugwu V.C (Council of Managing Directors)
The task force is totally unnecessary, it would have even be hearable if its members are not ex-customs CG’s who have been a part of the decay and they are now coming back into the system, to me its like a square peg in a round hole or better still a form of using a thief to catch a thief because they are all the same.
On the other hand, it will be a form of checks and balance if we have credible men on such a task force, men of integrity that will not just go there and use the post as an avenue to siphon and embezzle money, but my fear now is that I don’t think the men on that task force have anything to offer than this.
Comrade Samuel Agbogu (Chairman, NAGAFF, Seme)
The setting up of a task force of this nature in order to reform the Customs is very good and it’s in the best interest of the Customs because there are lots of abnormalities in the system. One of them is godfatherism, you will see an officer occupying a particular seat for such a long period and thereby seeing himself as a tin god.
However, the only thing to consider now is the conflict of power, the current comptroller might see the task force as using him to correct what they were unable to correct when they were in service since it has ex-CG’s as its member, I will have preferred when in constituting that task force, the government look outside the service and pick people that are neutral. But to me, I think the task force will reform the whole system.