The Nigeria Customs Service has been charged to endure greater efficiency and transparency in its operations.
Dr. Segun Musa who gave the charge in a chat with journalists in his office in Lagos said Nigeria cannot be reckoned with in international trade if its Customs Service continues to operate inefficiently.
The Chief Executive Officer of WideScope International Logistics Ltd., advised Nigeria to follow the example of many other nations of the world in order to eliminate inefficiencies and corruption in Customs Servive in Nigeria.
He called on government to privatize the Nigeria Customs Service noting that the cost of commodities in the market will drop by as much as 50% if this policy is implemented.
Accordung to Dr. Musa there is nothing special the Nigeria Customs is doing as far as revenue generation is concerned if the system can be fully automated. “Revenue can be collected adequately without any conduit pipe with few months training by any person. All you hear of Customs is seizures! Seizures!! Seizures!!! But the truth is that less than 30 percentage of the seizures are being declared because seizures are not audited”.
“Occasionally, customs replaces most of the viable products with expired products since nobody monitors seizures. Customs cannot be a judge in their own case. They cannot seize and be the ones to declare the number of items seized. Such unchecked authorization has brought lots of corruption in Nigerian Customs.”
Citing an instance when the former customs boss Late Abdullahi Dikko Inde MFR, OFR was being investigated, he said more than 50 brand new G.wagons were found in his house. “How much was his salary to have afforded such luxuries? He asked. “This will tell you that the level of corruption in customs is massive. Customs is the custodian of the revenue of this country and because they have the discretion to deal with revenue the way they like is the reason why we are where we are today”he added
While reiterating that the best way to move the nation’s economy forward is to privatize customs, Dr Segun Musa took a-swife at the unethical conduct of customs which he asserted is enough for everyone to pronounce them as an unhealthy agency to the economy. He expressed wonder as to how all the departments of customs like CIU, valuation, enforcement, etc and other government agencies will release a cargo in the port and the same cargo will still get stopped or intercepted by the same Customs? Sometimes to do re-examination openly on the road. This is very unethical and a sort of self- indictment that Customs officers in the port are corrupt. I have suggested to them to remove the untrusted ones in the port in other to ameliorate the embarrassment
Dr. Musa also harped on the importance of shipping to the growth of the economy, insisting that shipping is like the heart of a person and if the heart stops beating the whole body dies. “If shipping or transport fails health will fail, security will fail, Business will fail, every other sector will definitely collapse. This is the reason why some of us are very passionate when it comes to shipping and transport without using diplomacy of any sort to defend position and not minding whoever is offended”