Embracing a new era of excellence in NCS
By Adewale Adeniyi
Being a speech delivered by Adewale Adeniyi, Acting Comptroller-General, Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) on the occasion of his assumption of office.
Today, we gather here to mark the beginning of a new era in the Nigeria Customs Service. I stand before you as the newly appointed Comptroller General, humbled and honoured by the trust placed in me by our esteemed President, His excellency Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR. This call to duty signifies a great responsibility, a responsibility to serve our nation as trade facilitators and enforcers of government policy. It is a delicate balancing act that demands professionalism, integrity, and the highest ethical standards.
2. Over the past eight years, the Nigeria Customs Service has embarked on a journey of transformation, focused on reforms, restructuring, and revenue generation. We have witnessed critical adjustments to meet the evolving needs and strategic objectives of our Service. As beneficiaries and ambassadors of these reforms, many of us have played pivotal roles in training, retraining, and mentoring the future generation of Customs officers.
3. Today, we stand at the precipice of an exciting future, one that builds upon the achievements of the past and takes us even further. Our administration is committed to adopting a bottom-up approach, where the needs of our dear nation take precedence over everything else. We will prioritize efficiency in service delivery as the bedrock of trade facilitation and revenue generation. No longer shall encumbrances impede trade; we shall dismantle obstacles and foster a new culture of consultations and compliance.
4. In order to achieve our objectives, it is imperative that we bridge the current human resource gap within our ranks. We recognize the importance of capacity building and career advancement for our officers. The administration will work diligently to implement career advancement opportunities approved by the board, ensuring that competence remains the sole criterion for assigning responsibilities and measuring effectiveness. Our focus is on cultivating a highly skilled workforce that is equipped to face the challenges of a rapidly changing world.
5. Staff welfare is of paramount importance to us. We acknowledge the harsh and hostile environment in which our officers and men are compelled to function. Therefore, we commit ourselves to prioritize the welfare and well-being of our personnel. By providing better remunerations, improved accommodation, life insurance, and quality healthcare, we aim to create an environment that supports and motivates our workforce. We understand that a well-motivated team is instrumental in achieving our aims and objectives.
6. As we embark on this new journey, we recognize the need for collaboration and partnerships. We value the relationships we have built with our Partner Government Agencies and the private sector. These collaborations have been vital to our adoption of technology as a tool to enhance revenue generation and streamline processes. We will strengthen these partnerships and engage with stakeholders through revitalized platforms. By promoting dialogue, we can resolve disputes and advance mutually beneficial solutions that lead to more efficient and effective service. The Nigeria Customs Service will continue to treat its esteemed stakeholders as partners who have a stake in our success.
7. Furthermore, this administration is firmly committed to fairness. We shall treat all stakeholders, traders, and officers alike with impartiality and respect. Our decisions and actions will be guided by principles of transparency and discipline. We understand that our conduct shapes the public’s perception of the Service, and we will strive to uphold the highest standards of professionalism and ethical behaviour. Indiscipline will not be tolerated as we prioritize fairness and equity.
8. My predecessor had taken significant steps towards Customs Modernization, and it is our duty to build on those gains. Staff welfare and capacity building have been revolutionized under the previous administration, with the provision of decent packages and the
introduction of staff courses. This administration will build upon those gains to ensure the continuous growth and development of our workforce. All these efforts will be channelled towards ensuring that the real potentials of the Service are achieved.
9. It is crucial for us to recognize the modern realities and challenges to Customs operations. In today’s interconnected and technologically advanced world, we face emerging threats that require our utmost attention. E-commerce, global supply chains, and transnational criminal networks pose challenges to our role as custodians of trade facilitation and enforcement. We must adapt to these changing landscapes, leveraging technology, intelligence-led operations, and effective risk management strategies. Collaboration with international partners, law enforcement agencies, and customs administrations of other nations will be vital in combating illicit trade and securing our national interests.
10. Before I conclude, I want to acknowledge a significant milestone in our journey towards Customs modernization. Recently, the Nigeria Customs Service witnessed a remarkable achievement with the signing of the new Customs Act. This act marks a pivotal moment in our efforts to enhance trade facilitation, streamline procedures, and strengthen enforcement measures.
11. The new Customs Act provides us with a robust legal framework that aligns with international best practices, ensuring transparency, efficiency, and compliance in our operations. It empowers us to effectively tackle emerging challenges, adapt to evolving trade dynamics, and safeguard our national interests. Under this act, we have the opportunity to introduce innovative measures that will further enhance our customs processes, such as the implementation of advanced risk management systems, the integration of cutting-edge technologies, and the simplification of trade procedures. These advancements will not only boost our revenue generation capabilities but also promote a conducive business environment that attracts investments and spurs economic growth.
12. I assure you that we are fully committed to the successful implementation of the new Customs Act. We will work diligently to familiarize our officers and stakeholders with its provisions, ensuring its effective application across all our operations. Through comprehensive training programs and continuous engagement, we will create awareness and understanding of the act’s importance in achieving our shared goals.
13. As we embrace this new era under the Customs Act, we must remember that its success relies on our collective efforts. I call upon all officers, personnel, stakeholders, and the public to embrace the spirit of compliance, collaboration, and continuous improvement. Together, we can unlock the full potential of our customs service and contribute to the prosperity of our beloved nation.
14. I express my profound gratitude to the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, for the opportunity bestowed upon me to serve our great nation. I assure the President and his government of our unwavering commitment to the success of this administration. Together, with the dedicated men and women of the Nigeria Customs Service, we will pursue excellence and strive to surpass the expectations placed upon us.
15. Let us forge ahead with determination, knowing that we have the tools, the vision, and the unwavering spirit to excel in our duties. May God bless the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Thank you, and may God bless the Nigeria Customs Service and the Federal Republic of Nigeria.