Nigeria Customs Service under Adeniyi

Since the appointment of Bashir Adewale Adeniyi as the Comptroller-General of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) over a year ago, the agency has recorded remarkable achievements in generation of revenue and other aspects of customs operations, in line with global best practices. Expectedly, the NCS boss has aligned the agency’s activities with the policy advisory document of President Bola Tinubu’s administration. He has also taken some bold initiatives to reposition the agency and ensure timely clearing of goods at the nation’s ports. 

No doubt, repositioning an agency such as the NCS will surely come with a lot of challenges but Adeniyi has weathered the storm within a short space of time with great efficiency and effectiveness. Although one year is short to appraise one’s tenure in office, Adeniyi has proved that one year is enough to make appreciable impact in an agency, especially one that is entrusted with the collection of the nation’s revenue. For instance, the agency generated N1.09 billion in 90 days from vehicle regularization. The 90-day window, which commenced on March 5, 2024, led to the NCS generating N14 billion in March, N522 billion in April and N549 billion in May.

The introduction of Trade Modernisation Project by Adeniyi is perhaps one of the best decisions ever taken by any leadership of the NCS in recent times. The project will reportedly generate $250 billion to the federal government within 20 years. Adeniyi had promised to make trade facilitation a priority to simplify trade processes for all stakeholders upon assumption of office.

According to Chief Superintendent of the Customs, National Public Relations Officer, Abdullahi Maiwada, “under the Unified Customs Management System, the service will be able to scan 200 containers within an hour and aid the decongestion of the nation’s ports.”

“It is part of our efforts to ensure that we facilitate trade and effectively collect revenue for the federal government and enforce fiscal policies of the government in terms of anti-smuggling and other responsibilities,” Maiwada explained.

Apart from the Trade Modernisation Project, some other priorities of the NCS for the year include the completion of the NCS laboratory, establishment of a Command and Control Centre as well as Nigeria Customs University.

When Adeniyi assumed office as the Comptroller-General of Customs (CGC), he set up a Revenue Review Performance Recovery team. He also dissolved existing Strike Force teams, which constituted the multiple layers of enforcement into the recognized structure of Federal Operating Unit (FOU). He specifically did this to reduce the multiple checkpoints from about five units of checks at every stretch to just only two for effectiveness.

Under Adeniyi, the NCS has completed two working engagements with the Customs administration of the Republic of Benin to address the gaps that sustain the activities of smugglers and revenue leakage. He also established a committee tasked with revitalising the zonal structure of the service and granted them the authority to rejuvenate the service. In the same vein, he constituted a new management team, appointed strictly on merit and in line with the principle of equitable geopolitical representation.

Adewale has finalised arrangements with the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) to integrate their systems and minimise the registration of smuggled vehicles. Adewale has introduced the Work-Life Balance initiative aimed at enhancing officers’ wellbeing and welfare.

Under the leadership of Adewale, the NCS has witnessed enhanced revenue generation. It has reportedly achieved a remarkable 70.13 per cent increase in average monthly revenue collection from N202 billion to N343 billion. It also recorded a total of 1,763 seizures, amounting about N11.9 billion in duty paid value.

The NCS has successfully intercepted various contraband items, including arms, ammunition, illicit drugs, substandard pharmaceuticals and other prohibited goods that pose grave risks to the citizens. The agency has also recorded a significant total revenue collection of N3.2 trillion, marking a remarkable 21.40 per cent increase from the preceding year’s total revenue of N2.6 trillion. It achieved this milestone despite witnessing 18.62 per cent reduction in transactions for 2023 year-end. Above all, the NCS achieved a historic conviction of 52 offenders of Customs law in 2023.

While Adewale has made commendable achievements in his one year in office, there is still room for improvement. He should not rest on his oars. The Trade Modernisation Project must be pursued with vigour and be delivered on time. Apart from ensuring automation of port processes, it will aid timely clearing of goods and curb the extant corruption in the system. We urge Adewale to ensure that the 24-hour clearance of goods at the ports becomes a norm rather than a one-off exercise.

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