Exactly eight years after its introduction, the new Customs Comptroller General, Alhaji Hamman Bello Ahmed has scrapped the much- looked- forward- to annual Customs Comptroller General’s annual conference.
The decision comes on the heels of what sources refer to as the challenges that the almost six month-old administration of the new customs boss is facing.
Usually, the conference which was introduced during the tenure of Alhaji Ahmed Aliyu Mustapha as the Comptroller Generalcomes up between November and December every year.
It was last held in Sokoto in December last year during the twilight of the administration of the immediate past Comptroller General, Mr Jacob Gyang Buba.
Sources close to the Customs hierarchy told Shipping Position Weekly that since assumption of office, the new Customs boss has been inundated with operational and attitudinal problems so much that he reportedly feels that there was no need to organise any conference.
Shipping Position Weekly learnt authoritatively that the Customs boss has stopped any further action on the annual conference which has become a rallying point for all stakeholders in customs operations.
The conference always has in attendance, stakeholders such as: freight forwarders, importers, banks, sister government agencies including the Central Bank of Nigeria, speakers and experts from within and outside the country.
Before it held in Sokoto in 2007, the conference had held in all the nation’s geopolitical zones. Cities like Port Harcourt, Kano, Ibadan, Owerri, Calabar, Jos, and Otta.
Customs sources however hinted that thought of scrapping the annual conference had been coming up in the minds of some members of the last management of the service under Mr Buba.
A top Customs officer who was contacted on the development said :”To say the truth, the CG conference has started losing its appeal and the objectives for which it was created some years ago, we all saw the quality of it when it started under the leadership of Ahmed Mustapha, it was something we were all looking forward to”.
Contacted for confirmation, the public relations officer, Nigeria Customs Service, Mr Wale Adeniyi confirmed the development. He explained that the service wants to devote time to training.
Since the conference was introduced in year 2000 as a way of taking stock of the out-going year and tasking its personnel for the in-coming year, various issues bordering on customs operations, rights, legal and fiscal policy restrictions as well as inter- agency relationships have been discussed at different times.