Former National President, National Association of Government Approved Freight Forwarders (NAGAFF), Chief Eugene Nweke, has tasked the newly promoted officers of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) to exhibit patriotism and professionalism in the discharge of their responsibilities.
He gave the charge in a congratulatory press statement he issued on January 27, 2023 titled, “It Is No Longer Business As Usual”.
In his words, “Let me start by stating that your collective promotions into various higher ranks as both senior and management officers of Nigeria Customs Service is not just a proof of hardwork and dedication but a further demand for patriotism and prompt services to the fatherland.
“Without sounding unduly eulogistic, may I posit here that your promotions came at such a time in the history of national struggle towards a great republic in addition to the global efforts to overcome the post Covid-19 pandemic challenges which placed so much pressure on the economic growth of nations. Equally Nigeria as a developing nation is grappling with its own share of the challenges in a peculiar dimension”.
Hameed Ali, CGC of Customs
Nweke enumerated the challenges as ” the ● Non-firm monetary policy regulatory obligations in the face of fiscal space;
● The high cost of doing business at the port – thereby promoting inflation, lowering purchasing power of the citizens and undue hardship in the land;
● The incidences of capital flights diminishing our balance of trade performance, the persistent drug and arms trafficking – with its associated insecurity threats;
● The increasing war against the influx of counterfeited products – with its inherent threats to local manufacturing capacity;
● The trade facilitation challenges – in the face of high non-nompliance level on the part of the trading public; ,
● The higher yearly revenue generation targets and quest by the government – amidst global recession, etc”.
The frontline freight forwarder pointed out that it was because of the aforementioned challenges that he saw the officers’ elevation as a call to duty for father’s.
“It is against this backdrop of seeming difficulties associated with our international trade and port environment that compels me to view your promotions to serve our fatherland in your respective senior management ranks under the prevailing circumstances as a crucial tasks with a sense of no business as usual. It is at this juncture, I resort to join the industry stakeholders and well wishers to congratulate all of you on your respective promotions and doing so, do permit me to refresh our attention towards some salient isssues of industry concerns”.
Customs officers on parade
He listed the concerns as “a) Firstly, without mincing words, based on personal interactions with most of you over the years, I can attest to the fact that you are all star-studded and experienced officers conversant in customs administration, notwithstanding the place for a professional counsel can not be over emphasised, especially in the World Customs Organization canvass for consistent leveraging on inter-agency collaboration and strategic stakeholders engagements, deployment of technology-driven initiatives in critical aspects, if not in all areas of cargo handling operations and trade administration, thus furthering the culture of trade facilitation and exploring positive political supports.
b). Furthermore, the reason for reemphasizing on these ideals is because, on the part of stakeholders, it is of great expectations, believes and concerns that, notwithstanding the prevalence of seeming challenges within the international trade supply chain, especially within the customs ports, it is incumbent on all of you to technically, professionally and pragmatically find ways to turn the present difficulties, challenges, negative situations into a positive and productive one for the common good of all. It is not an overstatement to say that, your actions and inactions in relation to the international trade and security supply chain has both direct and indirect impacts on the overlaboured and impoverished Nigerians”.
Nweke maintained, “c). Notably, internal administrative strong will must be enhanced to engender political strong will. In this regard, there is need to point out that, certain operations or experimental tools with adhoc nature, that have overstayed its welcome, should be jettisoned forthwith, so as to promote fluidity in cargo clearance flow.