Usman Sanusi (NAGAFF, President)
The new CG should ensure genuine trade facilitation; he must also work with relevant agencies to ensure the success of vision 20:2020 within the context of the seven point agenda of the present administration. The new CG should also ensure genuine post clearance audit, we should more of situation where more containers are released from the ports while Customs go to the warehouses to follow up later, the situation where they continue delaying import goods is not good. The Customs should also look into the policy on overtime cargo, where containers are being auctioned with impunity and we know that there is economic melt down. There is need for more dialogue between the government and the trading public.
Gbolagade Oladepo (Mikkol Maritime Services Ltd.)
He should try and look into the issue of the federal operations’ unit (FOU) that have been going about harassing trucks carrying containers. After qualified officers at the port must have released these jobs, they will come and stop the truck on way and start to ask for unnecessary documents. Meanwhile, they are even junior officers whose ranks are not up to the ones who cleared your goods; he should do something about it because it all amounts to double standards. I will also suggest that the CG should look into the refresher course that was organized for clearing agents under former CG Hamman Bello Ahmed, he should try and bring it back and let it be a continuous process, we gained a lot from that course and I don’t think it should die like that. The new CG should look into it and probably let it be every six month or yearly. So also, the officers themselves should be made to attend such programmes because some of them are not current, agents are more current than some of them and they need to be updated.
Another area is that of e-payment, there are so many unnecessary units and departments in the system that are creating bottle necks and complications in the process of clearance, for 48 hour cargo clearance to be achieved there is need to streamline or shorten these units, some of them are unnecessary.
Comrade Owolabi Omotayo (Water Transportant)
The first thing I will like the new CG to focus on is accountability, discipline of officers and provision of equipment for the customs to work with because our borders are too porous. There are hidden routes which smugglers always follow to bring in contraband; I don’t think there is anything bad if the customs can mount surveillance cameras there so that it can send signal to the base and other relevant offices, I think that will go a long way to reduce the inflow of contraband. In the areas of providing equipment, the service providers have some years to spend in Nigeria and after this, they will have to go, the Customs should be prepared and be proactive in order to continue from were the service providers will stop.
Anonymous (Customs Officer)
What I think Dikko should do is to improve the conditions of service for officers, he should look into payment of salaries and benefits, the condition of service is still very poor, you can imagine that all transfer benefits since last year have not been paid. We are supposed to have allowances for inconvenience, transportation and hotel accommodation allowance, all these conditions were not met as stipulated. I was transferred to Yola and so are other officers but they neglected everybody and what they are only concerned about is that you are there working. Secondly, he should try to restore the customs service back to what it used to be; formerly as an officer, if you discover under payment in any clearance, there is incentive given to you, but these days, they pocket every collections without making any provisions for the officer.
The job has been so bastardized to the extent that if you do not have connection or know somebody at the top, you can not be posted to the juicy places like Tin can port, Seme, Apapa and so on. Without connection, you cannot be promoted, he should look into these things.
Angyu Jim (Five Star Logistics)
The new helmsman should first of all look into the training and recruitment of customs officers, for sometimes now they have not been doing this and this has in turn had effects on the job. Some of the officers have considered themselves to be tin gods were they can do as they wish. There should also be continuity in customs programmes, a situation whereby a new CG comes in with his own plans not minding on-going projects should be eradicated, he should try and look into some of the good projects that former CG initiated and focus on how to complete them. The customs needs to be properly equipped. For example, they tell some of these clearing agents that their entries cannot be found, but when the agents come here, that same entry is on own system here; they (Customs officers) keep sending these guys back and forth because of lack of equipment.
Emmanuel Bradillio (Clearing Agent)
If you look at the borders, smugglers are designing new tactics every day to smuggle things into the country, it amounts into revenue leakage for the economy, the customs should also design new tactics in tackling them and these loopholes should be blocked. Another issue to consider is the 48-hour cargo clearance, there should be a stipulated penalty for any container that has overstayed at the ports, there are abandoned containers at the ports today because the situation is still not quiet clear, too many charges and a lot of processes and customs tables to go through before getting your cargo, 48hour clearance should be enhanced, there should less human contact at the port. And importantly, if RAR is not working, they should scrap it and allow the customs to do their job; if scanning is not working they should review it and let’s know the way forward.