As the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) gives itself a pat on the back for exceeding the revenue target for 2017, a Lagos base veteran licensed customs agent, Prince Olusegun Ologbese has given an insight into the factors responsible for the feat.
The NCS High Command had through its Public Relation Officer (PRO), Mr. Joseph Attah, recently announced that the service “recorded the highest revenue collection ever of N1, 012, 259, 006,779.74 with five more working days to the end of 2017”
Continuing, it said: “This spectacular performance in revenue collection shows N241,685,276,289.74 over the N770,573,730,490 target for the year and well above the N898,673,857,431.07 collected in 2016 and despite the economic recession experienced earlier in the year, with low volume of imports and restriction placed on 41 items from accessing forex.”
The NCS which has Colonel Ibrahim Hameed Ali (retired) as its Comptroller General also revealed that it intercepted several contraband across the country.
In an exclusive chat with THISDAY at the weekend, Ologbese argued that a number of factors such as team work and change of strategy in operations combined to make the NCS to attain the feat.
While commending Ali and the NCS for the feat, Ologbese who is also the Chief Executive Officer of Ogbese Maritime Services Limited attributed NCS surpassing its 2017 revenue target to the blocking of revenue leakages in the system and the competition to deliver among the Customs Area Comptrollers (CACs).
According to the veteran licensed customs agent who is popularly called “Alaye” for his rich experience and vast knowledge of the freight forwarding business, the measures put in place by NCS management team has started yielding results. On assumption of office two years ago, the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) put this revenue blocking mechanism in place but it is only now they have started manifesting the desired results.
He stated that the feat was no surprise to those who have been following developments in the NCS High Command since President Mohammadu Buhari appointed the retired military officer as the NCS boss.
“The steadfastness of the CGC and his officers, particularly the Customs Area Controllers who oversee NCS formations across the country also contributed immensely to these achievements”, he said.
Continuing, Ologbese who is also the Life Patron of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ), Ondo and Ekiti Councils said: “As far as I am concerned, it is not a surprise that Customs did not only met its 2017 revenue target but also exceeded it. The Zonal Co-ordinator, Zone A, ACG Aminu Mohammed Dahiru, did a good job of monitoring all the commands under his supervisions such as Apapa, Lily Pond, Tin Can Island, PTML and FOU. This effective monitoring and supervision ACG Dahiru was one of the factors that made Customs to deliver. This is because once Zone A meet its revenue target, then it will be easier for the entire service to deliver.
“I strongly believed that it is these factors in addition to the measures put in place by the CGC and his management team that made the service exceed its revenue target for 2017. Again, the surpassing of the 2017 revenue target can be attributed to the fact that officers and men have doubled up their efforts in the three core functions of the NCS in line with the charge of the CGC. These include revenue generation, anti-smuggling campaign, and trade facilitation. Besides, there is more collaboration with other security agencies such as the Police and the Nigerian Army.
Ologbese expressed delight that the increase in the revenue collected by the NCS is coming at a time that there was not much expectations due to the downturn in the economy.
He also noted that the NCS was achieving the feat at a time the initiatives of the service was biting harder on port users, especially importers and licensed customs agents.
He enjoined the NCS, especially Ali and his management team not to rest on their oars as there was still room for improvement in the service delivery in 2018.
“They can only do this if they continue to maintain the hard work and commitment to trade facilitation for port users, especially genuine importers and licensed customs agents”, he added.